The Alaska FFA Association was recently named the winner of the 2016 Hunger Heroes Challenge, a program that encouraged students to help donate 3.5 million meals to local communities before the 2016 National FFA Convention & Expo in October.
After each hunger service event performed as part of the challenge, chapters reported impacts and shared their stories in order to be eligible for a cash drawing. This year’s reported impact was a record-high: 3.8 million meals were donated and more than 37,000 volunteers recording 191,322 hours of service to fight hunger.
The state of Alaska had the highest percentage of chapters that reported impacts this year, with more than 150 members in all middle and high school chapters volunteering 33,919 hours to donate more than 35,000 meals and over 37,000 pounds of food. As a result, Tyson Foods, Inc. will provide a donation to a state-wide Feeding America Food Bank in Alaska.
Other chapters participating in activities across the country included Frazee FFA from Minnesota, which held a competition to see which school grades could donate the most food. Frappe’s efforts resulting in 1,057 meals. Cuba Rushford FFA in New York planted a conventional garden with fourth-grade students, resulting in more than 2,116 meals, and Heritage FFA in Tennessee collected change and donations during the two weeks prior to Thanksgiving in 2015. They were able to purchase six complete Thanksgiving dinners from the local grocery store and gave them to local families in need.
“The Hunger Heroes Challenge was a great way to inspire members to take action against food insecurity. We are very excited to recognize the Alaska FFA State Association and all of their chapters for their great efforts,” Michele Sullivan, the Living to Serve senior team leader, said. “Moving forward, in an effort to continue our support of the FFA vision of building communities, the Living to Serve team is launching a new series of grant opportunities beginning with the 2017-18 school year. The grant funding will support more diverse service focus areas that include community safety; environmental responsibility; hunger, health and nutrition; and community engagement. To capture the stories and impacts of all chapters that are living to serve, we will also be launching a new challenge for our members that has a broader focus.”