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Connie Underwood, Jerry Underwood and Dana Hall pose for a photo after their first service at the Community Table.

Five hundred beef patties are on the menu this month at the Community Table in Alliance, thanks to some area ranchers and local businesses.

May is Beef Month in Nebraska and across the nation.

“A delicious beef hamburger for lunch is a tasty and nutritious carry-out meal that the Cattle Capital Cattlemen donated in service to others,” said Jerry Underwood, a longtime area beef cattle producer and industry leader.

The Community Table is an all-volunteer, non-profit entity started in 2019, to provide a free, nourishing noon meal Monday through Friday in downtown Alliance.

Food and supplies are donated by businesses, churches, individuals and groups who “adopt” a day to serve food to anyone seeking a meal.

“A couple of cattlemen and women wanted to do something for May as Beef Month,” explained Underwood, who with his wife, Connie, proposed serving beef for a local food pantry.

Community Table food prep and service is mostly done at the kitchen and hall of the Masonic Center.

He contacted Whitney Baldwin, coordinator of the Community Table, and inquired about food needs. Ground beef to serve 125 meals per day topped the list.

Underwood made phone calls and sent e-mails to CCC members, seeking volunteer servers and financial donations.

Hamburgers would be a great menu item, and easily served for the take-out meals, he shared.

Clayton Krause, a meat cutter and CCC member, who with his family owns and operates Table Top Meats in Hemingford, ordered nearly 170 pounds of ground beef and offered to make the 500 beef patties.

“The project came together in about 10 days, with financial donations, the beef, and plans to serve once a week during May,” Underwood said.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the community service project has been rewarding. Beef burgers are served with baked beans and potato chips or other items.

Packaging labels on the take-out container state “May is Beef Month! Enjoy a hamburger from Cattle Capital Cattlemen and Table Top Meats.”

Agricultural awareness is an aspect of food security that the CCC hopes to share.

“We’re glad to be able to help out in a small way to feed nutritious beef and to address hunger in our community,” Underwood said.

On May 21, the Community Table and CCC volunteers served 121 meals.

Nutrition information and educational materials of the Nebraska beef industry, including recipes, are available from the Nebraska Beef Council at www.nebeef.org

One in every four jobs in Nebraska is related to agriculture. Another fun fact: Cattle outnumber people in Nebraska by 4 to 1.

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