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Serving: IN

Community-minded FFA chapter gives back despite COVID-19

Slideshow: Crothersville FFA members have helped others all year. Now they need your help.

You’ve read about the Crothersville FFA’s Christmas toy and food drive. Indiana Prairie Farmer visited as the chapter prepared for its 30th annual food drive in 2018. At last year’s event, the chapter shattered the record set in 2018, donating 19.9365 tons of food. That’s 33, 815 pounds!

Linda Myers, longtime advisor, provides guidance, but she insists FFA members do the work.

2020 and COVID-19 placed new challenges in Crothersville FFA members’ path. Here’s how they’ve met those challenges. They still have one very big hill to climb. Be sure to note below how you can help.

Milk for people

Crothersville students learned the FFA chapter could partner with Prairie Farms to give milk away to people in the community. They started with a delivery of 240 gallons of milk to the school cafeteria.

“We quickly advertised that we would have free milk to give out to Crothersville residents,” explains Karley Gillis, chapter president. “The best part was, there was no paperwork to fill out.”

Kaylee Caudill, chapter treasurer, notes that they wondered if they could give away 240 gallons of milk. Fears vanished when 30 minutes before start time, there was already a line, she says. Chapter members followed COVID-19 guidelines and gave away milk safely for 13 weeks.

Helping a helper in need

Mike Weiler, a local policeman and volunteer fireman with the Crothersville Fire Department, was critically injured in a wreck while on duty. Matthew Clouse, chapter student advisor, hatched the idea to fry pork burgers at the local fire department and donate the proceeds to Weiler. The chapter teamed up with the fire department, which sold fish sandwiches, and both groups negotiated COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was the best of both worlds,” Clouse says. “Folks could get their favorite food and donate to a great guy.”

Kennadi Lakins adds, “The pork burger fry was an amazing day, because we were all there to support him.”

National Farm Safety and Health Week

Crothersville FFA typically holds safety stations for grades 3 through 5 at Crothersville Elementary School. “We made a video of our stations just in case we couldn’t hold our traditional event,” Caudill says.

Fortunately, both school principals reviewed the COVID-19 precaution plans and approved the live version. Chapter officers covered six pertinent safety topics.

“I think safety stations help kids realize the needs of being safe, whether it’s around animals or lawn mowers,” says Mariyah Kelshaw, chapter reporter.

Annual food drive

Each year, the FFA chapter holds a craft show, which helps raise a sizable chunk of money to buy food for the Christmas toy and food drive. Unfortunately, after deliberating with county health department restrictions, school officials decided holding the crafts show wasn’t feasible.

“There were too many obstacles to overcome, and endangering a chapter member just isn’t worth it,” Myers says.

“I was really looking forward to being in charge of our 26th annual craft show,” says Ella Pease, chapter secretary. “However, I’m excited to come back stronger than ever next year.”

Loss of revenue leaves a big hole in food-buying plans, but the annual food and toy drive will go on, members insist. They’re considering another pork burger and fish fry, and accepting monetary donations.

To help, send a check made out to Crothersville FFA, with “annual food drive” in the memo section. Mail to: Crothersville FFA Chapter, 109 N. Preston St., Crothersville, IN 47229. Time your donation to arrive by Dec. 11.

See photos from all of these events in the accompanying slideshow.

Crothersville FFA members contributed information for this story.

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