FFA members from three Tennessee chapters joined forces at the 2015 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show to package 35,000 meals for the needy, which were delivered to the Memphis Food Bank for distribution to counties in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
The Farm Show Feeds project was started at the 2013 show, and the FFA volunteers packaged 10,000 meals with such efficiency and speed that the goal for the next year's show was doubled — and easily met by the energetic youngsters. This year, they more than tripled that first year's effort.
"It was awesome to see the energy and enthusiasm of these youngsters as they pitched in to help with this project," says Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association and show manager.
Stay current on what’s happening in Mid-South agriculture: Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily.
"Everyone who saw these youngsters at work was just amazed at how enthusiastic, energetic, and focused they were on the work. That they were willing to give up a part of their weekend to help others speaks well of the work ethic of today's youth and the ideals of FFA."
FFA members participating in the project were from Brighton, Covington, and Munford, Tenn. chapters.
"Farm Show Feeds is an offshoot of Memphis Feeds, which works to combat hunger in the greater Memphis area and beyond," Price says.
"For the past several years, the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show has collaborated with various associations, including Mid-South Food Bank, to increase awareness of anti-hunger efforts.
"We have collected funds and food for the Mid-South Food Bank and other organizations, such as Feeding America. When we became aware of this initiative, we felt it was the next logical step in our outreach efforts.
ORDER YOUR 2015 DELTA AGRICULTURAL DIGEST NOW
The new Delta Agricultural Digest is now available. Place your order today and we’ll ship your copies immediately. Phone 1-800-253-3160 ext, 70125 to order.
"We're always looking for ways to tell agriculture's story, to make the general public more aware of what farmers do, and this sort of effort helps to show that we're more than just producers of food — that we also have a concern and a compassion for those less fortunate."
Funds for purchasing the ingredients were donated by Dow Agro, Vandergriff, Cotton Museum, Case IH, AgWatch Network, Moore Farms (Rienzi, Miss.), Hargett Farms (Alamo, Tenn.), Pleasant Field Farms (Quito, Tenn.) and numerous individuals.
"We appreciate the generosity of all who helped to support this effort financially," Price says.
Ingredients for the meals came from Outreach, Inc. The organization says each package provides six nutritionally complete servings. The meals, developed in cooperation with internationally-recognized nutritionists, include rice, fortified soy protein, vegetables, and essential vitamins and minerals. A macaroni and cheese dish has also been developed for distribution to local food banks and pantries for distribution to the needy.
CHECK OUT OUR PHOTO ALBUM OF THE 2015 MID-SOUTH FARM & GIN SHOW
He expressed appreciation to those who made monetary contributions to purchase food items for this year's effort.
"It was money well invested," he says. "It's incredible how much good, nutritious food can be provided for such a small amount of money — $25 will buy 100 meals; $250 will buy 1,000. That's a really great return."
FFA members who participated in the Farm Show Feeds food packaging effort were:
BRIGHTON, TENN. CHAPTER:
William Lea, Terri Lea, Neil Bringle, Justin Russell, Gabby Cooper, Blake Hubbard, Kendal McLillie, Noah Scarbrough, Nathan Fisackerly, Grant Hunter, Katie Scott, Mary Abby Mallery, Elijah Stearns, Christian Dillard, Addie Davis, Mary Flanagan, Johnathon Dunn, Peyton Caldwell, Blake Robbins, Trey Johns, Conlee Lea, Mary Selle, Grace Hunter, Rylee Ervin, Hunter Hobbs, Hunter Davis, Emily Cooper, Jessica Gargus, McKayla Honeycutt, M.J. Kerns, Montana Alldread, Megan Sampson, Kylie Hunter, Taylor Scott, Ashton Quarles, Hunter Elam
COVINGTON, TENN. CHAPTER:
Tyler Rowlland, Bryan Cole, Averi Cole, Molly Flanagan, Liz Flanagan, Chase Murray, Ryan Wick, C.J. Cunningham, Russell Giles, Collin Embry, Marquez Palmer, Logan Cooper, Kaitlynn Poole, Kevin Pilkington, Sam Daniel, Nathan Oliver, Kirk Daniel (producer), Alan Daniel, Octravious Lewis, Phillip Langlois, Catherine Turner, Denise Shires
MUNFORD, TENN. CHAPTER:
Dani Wallace, Jessie Roberts, Amanda Warren, Audrey Blackwell, Baylee Tate, Noah Crosley, Hunter McKelva, Jackson Arthur, Robert Akers, Emily Russell, Ciera Blankenship, Tiffany Arthur, Kacy Chapman, Devin Chapman, Colton Boswell, Xandra Gutierrez, Autumn Adkins, Rachel Davenport, Taylor Bryan, Charles Bowling, Ashlyn Howk, Destinee Gardner, Cody Smith, Dakota White, Blake Wilson, Ashley Bringle, Vicki Schulz, Sierra Shulz, Keegan Schulz