Federation Service Learning Food Drive Helps Provide Healthy Food to
Mason County Pantries
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[October 30, 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 309-543-3308.
Communications Program Coordinator
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION]