4-H Federation Service Learning
Food Drive Helps Provide Healthy Food to Mason County Pantries
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[October 28, 2019]
Members of the Mason County 4-H Federation Club teamed up with local
law enforcement officers to host a food drive as a service learning
project. Using the 2019 county fair as a collection site, the goals
of the club were to partner with other community volunteers and to
collect healthy food donations to benefit county food pantries.
Through the project planning process, the officers shared with
Federation members their observations of the need for food
assistance across the county. According to the 2018 Illinois School
Report Card statistics, all of the Mason county school districts
have one or more schools with a 49% or greater student population
coming from low-income households. Countywide, approximately 250
families use the resources provided by local food pantries that are
operated solely by volunteers.
Mason City Food Pantry director, Barbara McGrew, reported that food
donations tend to be less in the summer months while generosity is
greater during holiday seasons. County food pantries rely heavily on
healthy food and monetary donations to be able to support the
demand. Many of the county food recipients are the elderly
population living on fixed incomes.
One in five Illinois children under the age of 18 face hunger daily.
Illinois ranks 26th in the nation when it comes to the number of
children facing food insecurity. An estimated 745,300 children are
living in food-insecure homes. This represents 23% of Illinois youth
under the age of 18.
When asked about volunteerism, Sharon France, volunteer President of
the Food Pantry at Central Christian Church in Havana, said, ďItís
about helping people in need in our community. Itís about giving of
your personal time, serving others with a friendly face and
kindness, regardless of their circumstances. Itís about going the
extra mile whether it is at your job or as a volunteer.Ē
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She hopes these are the values that are instilled in the 4-H members and that
they will continue with service to others throughout their lives.
As a result of the 4-H Federation Food Drive, over 250 cans of food and
non-perishable items were collected, as well as baby diapers, toiletries, and
monetary donations. 4-H youth had the opportunity to work together with food
pantry volunteers to help stock the shelves with the donated items.
Service learning projects like this are a primary focus of the Mason County 4-H
program. Youth involved in 4-H learn to work together to identify needs and the
best way to help address them. For more information on how you can get involved
as a volunteer or youth can get involved as members contact Joli Pierson, Mason
County 4-H program coordinator at email@example.com or 309-543-3308.
Communications Program Coordinator
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION]