SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A special delivery was made to Springfield’s Open Pantry and the Parish Cupboard in West Springfield Friday, just ahead of the holiday season.

The Eastern States Exposition donated 480 pounds of premium beef from a prize-winning 4-H steer to both of these local non-profit organizations. 4-H beef is a program that provides youths with a fun and hands-on learning experience that develops both beef subject skills and life skills.

The premium beef is from a prize 4-H steer, and the 1,240 lb. steer was raised by Lily Dias of Massachusetts, who purchased it as a calf and spent a full year growing it to market weight to participate in the four-day 4-H Beef program at the Big E Fair.

For about five years now, the Eastern States Exposition has generously donated high quality protein to the Open Pantry and the Parish Cupboard. Eastern States Exposition CEO Gene Cassidy told 22News this donation supports both the 4-H program and the people who utilize these food pantries.

“We’re supporting 4-H and at the same time providing several hundred pounds of high quality, high protein, this is really the best beef you can buy,” said Cassidy.

Terry Maxey, the Executive Director for the Open Pantry Community Services told 22News, “This is something that’s happened every year and I know that our population always looks forward to this because it’s fresh, it’s good beef and you know it’s going to feed a lot of people, so we are truly excited about that.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno was also at the donation Friday, expressing his thanks to the Eastern States Exposition for helping the community this time of year.

Mayor Sarno states, “I cannot thank ESE President and CEO Gene Cassidy and the Eastern States Exposition enough for their very generous and thoughtful donation to our Friends of the Homeless and Open Pantry. This much-needed top-quality beef donation will go a long way in helping those in need and I am very grateful for the partnerships and friendships we have developed to keep this heartwarming and uplifting tradition going.”

If you would like to support Springfield’s Open Pantry with a non-perishable or monetary donation, you can stop by the Mayflower Marathon which starts this coming Monday at 6 a.m. outside the South End Market at MGM Springfield.