From left Amelia Welch announces the FFA’s plan to provide 50,000 meals for area families.Caitlin Riddle speaks to dozens of area business leaders.

FFA 50,000 Meals

Cameron FFA Members set high goal to feed area families
“As students, we sit in class all day long and notice our classmates and friends are dealing with [hunger],” Robinson said. “It isn’t always right before lunch, but all hours of the day. In Clinton County, 41 percent of all of our students qualify for the national food program and 43 percent in DeKalb County.”

 

Students with the Cameron High School FFA announced they will attempt to provide 50,000 meals to needy families as part of their Feeding our Friends program. 

With a goal of raising $12,500 to purchase 50,000 meals, which they will assemble March 27, students Thomas Robinson, Amelia Welch, Callen Curtis and Caitlin Riddle announced they will spearhead the program and work alongside the Cameron Food Pantry to provide meals for area families. 

“We average about 150 a month that we serve at the food pantry and of them there are about 10 new families per month,” Cameron Food Pantry Volunteer/Treasurer Gwen Forsythe said. “There is constant change, but the pie is only so big … Some people are gone, but other people are coming in.”

The students made their presentation to area business leaders Tuesday during the monthly Cameron Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, proposing a plan to incorporate area businesses by encouraging them to band together for fundraisers to benefit Cameron’s most in need.

“As students, we sit in class all day long and notice our classmates and friends are dealing with [hunger],” Robinson said. “It isn’t always right before lunch, but all hours of the day. In Clinton County, 41 percent of all of our students qualify for the national food program and 43 percent in DeKalb County.”

While lower-income students receive a free or reduced-price meal during school hours, the FFA students look to insure they do not go hungry at home. As part of the program, the Cameron FFA will purchase a variety of pre-packaged meals such as pasta with marinara for dinner, an apple-flavored oatmeal breakfast and more. By purchasing the meals from Meals of Hope, a Florida-based not-for-profit organization, at a price of 25 cents per meal, Cameron FFA students estimate they can provide more than 50,000 meals if they can reach their goal of $12,500.

“As a freshman in FFA, one of the first things we learn is the FFA Creed. Some may remember part of it like ‘I believe in the future of agriculture,’ but the part that sticks out to me comes in the fourth paragraph – ‘less need for charity and more of it when needed,’” Curtis said. “As a freshman in Ag. Science 1 class, I sat and I pondered what does this really mean. It wasn’t until now I truly understood … As we look at these astonishing statistics about food insecurity here at home, we are faced with this challenge. We want less people at home who need these meals, but they do. We’re going to give these families some hope and knowing where a healthy meal can be found and we want to provide an abundance of charity right here at home where it is needed.”

Once the students reach their goal, purchase the food and assemble it, they will distribute food parcels for students through the Backpack Buddies program and drop off additional parcels to the Cameron Food Pantry. For Forsythe, who taught a few of the presenters while she worked for the Cameron School District, seeing her students putting so much effort into giving to the needy gives her a sense of fulfilment.

“It makes me feel like I gave them a good background as a teacher. I may not have had these kids specifically, but the ones I did have in class I gave them the background and encouraged them,” she said. “It makes me feel really good that they are willing to pay it forward. Part of the FFA Creed is it’s better to get a hand up than a hand out. They are getting to see how that is very much the case and the feeling they will have in their hearts after they’ve done this. It’s indescribable.”

For more information on getting involved with Feeding Our Friends, contact Cameron FFA Teacher Carmen Buller at cbuller@cameronschools.org or FFA supporter Karen Chaney at kchaney@amfam.com

 

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