Operation Conquer Hunger provides close to 3 million mealsSep 13, 2021 01:24PM ● By Becky Ginos
Meal donations have become a part of the company culture. Courtesy photos
FRUIT HEIGHTS—In 2007, Trevor Farnes and his wife Jen hit rock bottom. After pouring all of their money into a business venture that failed, the couple found themselves with an empty bank account and children to feed. Now, 14 years later Farnes’ new business MTN OPS is not only flourishing but the company has a mission to feed families who may find themselves in the same situation.
“We had a new home,” he said. “We felt secure and wrote out a check for a new franchise. Then everything crumbled around us. Our home went up for auction and we were just trying to keep a float. We had to tap into community resources to feed our kids.”
Neighbors dropped off food and they received other help, said Farnes. “It was like the loaves and fishes. We decided that if we were ever in a position to help others we’d do it.”
Several years later Farnes got that chance when he started Operation Conquer Hunger to donate meals to hungry children. In 2014, Farnes co-founded MTN OPS, a nutrition supplement business that also sells to the hunting industry.
“With every order that comes through the website we donate one meal or more,” said Farnes. “At the end of 2019 we donated our first 1 million meals.”
In 2020 with COVID they had an increase in business, he said. “We were getting more orders. At the same time there was a big need because people were getting laid off so we had an increase in meal donations. In 2020 alone we donated 1 million in what took us four years to do before.”
MTN OPS donated 550,000 meals just in July, said Farnes. “Now we’re up to 2.8 million and we’re on track to have 3.3 million by the end of the year.”
Farnes said they mostly go through the Davis School District and food pantries. “We donate meals all over the state and in Malawi, Africa. But our concentration is throughout the state and at local elementary schools.”
The business used to have 300-400 people come together, customers and community members. “But then COVID hit and we couldn’t gather,” he said. “When we could start getting together we had small youth groups and families serving together packing pantry packs. It’s been an incredible experience, it’s brought this close to home.”
Operation Conquer Hunger has become the culture at MTN OPS, said Farnes. “Our employees go down throughout the day and build pantry packs. It’s a way to be hands on and their families get involved. They’ve really bought into it.”
It’s not about the numbers, he said. “The first million was exciting. Our goals are revenue based but now we can tie that to a meal and look at what our donation goal is. It’s a small part of what we do but it’s the biggest part of who we are.”
Farnes has come a long way. “I’m grateful for the ability to do what we’re doing,” he said. “It’s so far from where we were. I have an eye to see and understand what they’re going through. There are pivotal moments to do good for others if you choose to see it that way. That’s what it’s been for me and my wife.”