GREENFIELD — The Nodaway Valley FFA Chapter used the bucket of a small tractor for a different purpose than usual Friday night. They took donations of non-perishable food items to fill the tractor and donated them to two local food pantries.
The FFA chapter decided to do a “Hunger is a Factor, Fill the Tractor” campaign for the first time during Nodaway Valley/O-M’s home football game. Donations went to food pantries at the Adair County MATURA Neighborhood Center and the Greenfield United Methodist Church.
“I did state ushering [at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand] and one of the girls I became friends with there, her chapter did it. I thought it was a really great idea to try to get the chapter involved in the community more,” said FFA member Kerigan Brown. “With our 4-H group, we did a donation and I knew [the people who received those] really appreciated it. I thought it might be something we could do too.”
The FFA members set up the tractor about an hour before the game. Even before kickoff as fans arrived, donations were coming in. They really piled up by halftime and by the end of the game.
“A lot of people have said they’re going to donate, and it’s a good idea to help people in need,” said Makinley Edwards, another FFA member. “I’m really excited for us to be able to give these donations [to those in need].”
On Saturday, the Adair County Hot Shots 4-H club donated to the same food pantries with their “Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat drive at the Greenfield Fareway store, and were extremely successful.
Raedeen Bigelow of the Neighborhood Center said this is a good time of year to give to those who are in need, particularly through giving to resources like the food pantry at the Neighborhood Center. Her pantry is amply stocked right now, however need varies widely from month to month.
“We’ve had a lot of support with food lately and we’ve had a lot of gift cards [donated],” Bigelow said, noting the Hot Shots received their highest amount of cash donated since they’ve done their Trick or Treat project.
Bigelow said she’s intrigued to see what kind of need will arise because income guidelines for food stamps have recently changed and benefits for SNAP recipients went up considerably at the beginning of this month.
“The income guideline went up. Now they’re taking what the actual deductions are for rent, utilities, taxes and auto insurance. They’re taking taking those amounts off instead of a standard deduction, so I think that’s helping people too and they’re getting a few more food stamps,” Bigelow said.
Nodaway Valley FFA advisor Kylee Smith said she was pleased to see the leadership team of the chapter of 35 to 40 members— Terrin Gettler, president; Madison Carstens, vice-president; Edwards, reporter; Kyrin Young, secretary; Dax Kintigh, treasurer and Brown, sentinel — want to do a project like this. Many members of the chapter helped execute the event.
“We live to do, do to live and live to serve, and this is one way we can do that,” Smith said. “We’re trying to serve our community by giving back to those who may not have what everyone else gets. Food isn’t something anybody should worry about so we’re happy to help those who may have that concern.”