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Protein for the Poor




More and more families are cutting back on basics to make ends meet. For America's poorest families meager money often means giving up meat, an increasingly expensive part of a balanced diet. A South Carolina farm offers a one-of-a-kind solution. Heidi Robinson reports.

(Locator: Pawleys Island, South Carolina)

Nels Ledwell: "Good morning."

At St. Paul's Waccamaw United Methodist Church, pastor Nels Ledwell has a flock.

He also has a herd.

Ledwell at pasture: "Come on, bulls."

Welcome to Outreach Farm, 70 acres of South Carolina farmland dedicated to raising Grade-A beef for the less fortunate.

Pastor Ledwell and a team of volunteers raise a whopping 43,000 servings of beef a year.

The Rev. Nels Ledwell, St. John's Waccamaw United Methodist Church: "Seeing hungry people turned away because there is not enough food&ellipsis;it's something that you have to do."

And there's plenty for this cowboy pastor to do in a pasture.

Ledwell at pasture: "Snap, snap, snap, come on babies, come on."

Ledwell uses his background raising cattle and his experience mentoring people to teach volunteers&ellipsis;and give hope to the hungry.

Nels Ledwell: "This is about a 10-pound package of ground beef."

The beef is frozen solid for delivery, but this hamburger is a hot commodity.

Nels Ledwell: "&ellipsis;so many places just giving things that are leftovers."

A long list of soup kitchens, children's homes and shelters request meat from Outreach Farm.

Nels Ledwell: "This is Grade-A beef raised from the farm purposely for them."

(Sound of sizzling beef)

Woman at serving line: "Come get you a hamburger."

Boys come to Tara Hall when their families cannot care for them. Regular meals help heal from the past.

Patsy Morris, Tara Hall for Boys: "You go through their stomachs to get to their hearts."

Outreach Farm supplies 40 pounds of beef every month.

Child eating hamburger: "Tasty."

Some becomes burgers; some spaghetti&ellipsis;all feeds a need.

Patsy Morris, Tara Hall for Boys: "Just watching them, and knowing they're going to bed on a full stomach, that's got to make a big difference in their lives."


The Rev. Nels Ledwell is now the pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Blythewood, South Carolina. Since he lives three hours away, Rev. Ledwell is no longer a volunteer with Outreach Farm but the program continues and is going strong. The farm serves about 45,000 servings of beef a year and now provides other meats such as chicken. The Outreach Farm operates on volunteer labor and donations. For more information, contact Outreach Farm, Pawleys Island, SC 29585, phone 843-314-1331.

Posted: Nov. 4, 2008