Marcus Chapman has always been a stoic farmer but Windsor resident Kay Carithers has stepped in to help him.
Through the heat of summer and chill of fall, he’s made it his mission to feed Windsor and Weld County with his fresh produce. But when hail crashed to the ground last weekend and ravaged his 4-acre farm, Carithers — like many area residents — knew the steadfast, passionate farmer was going to need assistance.
That’s why, on Tuesday, Carithers set up a special title account at Windsor State Bank — Chapman’s Produce Thank You — to help offset the damage from a storm that destroyed virtually his entire yield. Though he can still sell his brother-in-law’s famous sweet corn along with a smattering of other produce, most of what he worked so hard to grow — his very livelihood — was devastated.
“I just want people to know that if the masses would just give $1, it’s a thank you,” said Carithers, who has shopped at the produce stand for 10 years. “It would accumulate. It’s seed money. That’s what it is. It’s seed money because we want him to never give up.”
Chapman has been reluctant to accept the help — Carithers says that’s the trademark of a proud, hardworking and “old school” man. But she wants to at least give him the option to draw on some funds, if not for his crops than for a donation to someone else, like the Weld Food Bank where he has donated thousands of pounds of produce over the years.
“I hope there is an outpouring of people in the community,” Carithers said. “I really do.”
So far, there has been.
Mayor John Vazquez on Thursday said he plans to chip in $50, and he challenged as many residents as possible to match that. Even if money is tight, every dollar helps, he said, adding that Chapman has devoted so much of his life to the community and this is a chance for residents to give back after the devastating storm.
“If all of us just give a little bit, it can go a long way,” he said.
Along with residents from across the community asking how they can donate money or even their time in the fields, companies are teaming up to donate to the new account.
Brandon Hartman is a co-owner of Wimmer Roofing, based out of Arvada, and he said that for every roof his company replaces in Windsor, the company will contribute $100 to the Chapman Produce Thank You Fund.
“It’s a much more personal thing than just coming in and doing a roof and getting out,” he said, adding that he grew up in Greeley and spends most of the week living in town. This decision to give back to Chapman was a no-brainer.
Additionally, Windsor’s Resident Reality LLC has agreed that for every home they close on, $100 will be contributed to the fund.
Carithers said the account will likely remain open until December at which time it will close out and the bank will mail the funds to Chapman, who can do what he wants with it. To donate, you can either deliver cash or check to Windsor State Bank, 1130 Main St., and say you want it to go to the Chapman fund. Additionally, you can mail a check to the bank made out to “Chapman’s Produce Thank You.”
“He’s probably the most unselfish, hardworking human being I’ve had the pleasure to meet,” Carithers said. “They need seed money. We want them to keep planting. That’s all.”