Most of the top poultry companies in the United States perform philanthropic acts that help their communities, but something about the latest gesture of kindness from House of Raeford Farms brought a bigger smile to my face than normal.

WLTX reported that there is an initiative started by Ezekiel Ministries where inner city kids from Columbia, South Carolina, are learning to farm. And they are doing so in downtown Columbia as part of Ezekiel Ministries’ after school and mentoring program.

“The church and the community need to be responsible for the children growing up in that community. We want our youth to grow into young men and young women who know how to succeed,” said Ezekiel Ministries Director Josh Whitlock.

And what better way to teach a young person work ethic and traditional values than farm work?

The initial plans are for the kids to raise lettuce, mixed greens, carrots, and tomatoes.

House of Raeford Farms steps up

When House of Raeford Farms, which operates a poultry plant in Columbia, learned of this farm project, it decided to get involved, by donating a farm implement for use at the farm.

“Agribusiness is something that we can invest in to help some kids learn a lot of different techniques and trades and so hopefully in the future help them to become even more successful for their families,” said House of Raeford Farms’ Chuck Underhill.

Faith-based service is not something unusual for House of Raeford Farms. Through its nonprofit outreach program known as FLOCK (Faithful Love Offering for Christ’s Kingdom), the group partners with charitable organizations to responsibly distribute resources -- whether they are monetary, products or manpower. The program was founded in 2008 when company president and CEO Bob Johnson was pondering the true mission of the company and concluded it should be making a positive difference in peoples’ lives.

Hopefully the farm project, which will be known as Eze Farms, will not only grow vegetables, but also grow future leaders in the agriculture industry. That is most definitely making a positive difference.