Local News

Jul 18, 2014 1:38 PM by LiLi Tan, KSBY News

Life, loss and a steer named Legacy

A young woman channels her grief over the death of her sister to bring good to thousands of hungry families.

Last year, 19-year-old Christine Allen was on her way home to San Luis Obispo from college in Wyoming, when she was caught in a rock slide and died.

A year later Christine's younger sister Mary, 18, is determined to keep her sister's memory and legacy alive, and in a pretty interesting way: by raising a steer, named ‘Legacy' and donating it to a food bank.

"Christine was very inspiring but also very motivated to do good in this world," Mary Allen said, explaining her sister, a member of 4H, raised cattle for the San Luis Obispo County Food Bank every year for six years. "She really had a heart for the needy and the homeless so she wanted to help them as much as she could."

Shortly after Christine's tragic death, Mary brought her sister's steer to auction at the Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles and encouraged other buyers to donate their purchases as well. About 25,000 lbs. of meat went to the food bank, feeding thousands of families in need, according to the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County.

"The food bank serves one in six in our county, so with the drought kicking in and all of that expense going up, any donation helps so much," said Wendy Lewis, COO of the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County.

Mary hopes to again convince auction goers to purchase fair animals and donate their meat to the food bank in Christine's honor. There is also a fund in Christine's name to offset processing costs so the food bank does not have to incur the charges.

Mary raised Legacy during her first year at Cal Poly, getting to Coles Cattle Company, where the steer lived until this summer, whenever she could. Coles donated the steer and Farm Supply donated his feed.

She says it was tough to balance school and raising Legacy, but it also helped her deal with the grief over losing her sister.

"I think it did make it easier because I felt like I was carrying on her legacy and actually help me draw good from the situation. It was a challenge, but a good challenge," Mary said.

Legacy will be in the Mid-State Fair show ring on Wednesday, July 23 and Friday, July 25. Then he will go to auction on Saturday, July 26.

For more information, visit the Legacy Steer Project Facebook page or Slo Food Bank.

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