Saturday, September 21, 2019

Byron FFA helps donate hundreds of pounds of dairy to Channel One

Giving back to the community, and agriculture are two of the pillars that the FFA is founded on.

That’s why it was so fitting, that the Byron FFA, was able to not only able to help the agriculture community, but also people in need as well, through their recent community service project.

That project was raising money, in order to buy and donate local dairy to the Channel One Food Bank.

The project started when the Olmsted County American Dairy Association, approached the Byron FFA, about a fundraising idea that would help support local dairy farmers, as well as though who are food insecure in the area.

From there, the two groups came up with the theme of  "A Very Dairy Christmas.”

After the FFA chapter meet as a group, to come up with ways to fund the drive, they picked  a week in December in which there were several activities happening throughout the district, including conferences, choir and band concerts, and sporting events of all types.

During the events, members of the FFA, helped collect donations, while also sharing information about dairy products and the dairy industry in general.

The service project, became the talk around town, which lead to local businesses donating as well, including, Northern Valley Animal Clinic, Ellingson Drainage, and Merchants Bank.

When it was all said and done, the FFA chapter, came up with $1,000 raised, and through a matching donation of $1,000 from the ADA, they were able to donate 108 lbs of butter, 432 lbs of cheese and 220 gallons of milk, to Channel One.

Byron FFA Advisor, Allison Newman, explained that the local FFA chapter continues to amaze her.

“My kids continue to amaze me on a daily basis. They understand just how important it is to give back to the agricultural community as of course, that is where the roots of the FFA started. They understand some of the struggles that our local dairy farmers and really all farmers are in right now and saw this as a way to not only help them but to also help the greater community,” Newnan said.

Newman also explained, that the students recognize how important it is to support the local community.

“Channel One supports 14 counties and our members saw this as a very simple way that they could make a difference. I'm proud that my students understand that giving back is so important, no matter the size of the project. What makes me even prouder is often times it is our members who are pushing to do more community service projects,” Newman stated.

For one FFA member, Bayli Magnuson, being able to make an impact in her local community is something she is proud of.

“It makes me feel proud that I'm making a big impact on our surrounding communities. We volunteered part of our lives to raise money to make a big impact on other people's lives,” Magnuson explained.

For Brenna Connelly, she explained that the service project was an amazing opportunity to get people in the community the things they need. “This donation was such an incredible opportunity for me. It was so amazing to see how many donations we received and how much we were able to donate. Everyone should have access to fresh, nutritious food, so it was a humbling experience to be able to provide community members with these products,” Connelly said.

Newman explained, that after having so much success this year, they are hoping to make it an annual service project and even expand on it.

“Although coordinating the actual donation took a little longer than we had planned, we are excited that we could help so many in our area.  We plan on making this a yearly event and even hope to maybe get other local FFA chapters involved as well,” Newman stated.

At the end of the day, Newman explained that helping out in the community is what FFA is all about, and Byron’s chapter is always ready to step up.

“The FFA motto is " Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve." Living to Serve is a great way to provide experiences to our students. They develop compassion and empathy, which in my opinion are vital pieces to developing character. Our students have so much to offer and at the same time so much to learn. Community service provides them with an immediate response and shows them just how big of a difference a small group can make,” Newman said.


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