‘Tis the season to be giving back. Many FFA Chapters from across the country take the holiday season to give back to their community. Students look for the biggest need in their community and are able to donate many items to the local pantry, food bank, women’s shelter, and many other charities. Here are some of our favorite acts of kindness we have seen FFA member performing during the holidays.
Caney Valley FFA in Oklahoma created 12 Days of Giving to give back to their community. Starting Dec. 11 and running until Dec. 25, the students came up with activities for every day. Some scheduled events include:
- Write Christmas cards to nursing home residents
- Deliver homemade cookies to city hall, fire station, and police station
- Candy Cane Hitch Hikers (hang candy canes and inspirational quotes on School parking lot vehicles)
- Donate animal food to local animal shelter
- Refill the town Blessing Box
- Deliver treats and Christmas cards to local businesses
- Give anonymous gifts to high school student in need
- “Have a Merry Christmas and a ‘Chappy’ New Year” — Chapstick gifts to faculty
- Ornament and thank you card to Booster Club members
- Ring the Salvation Army bell
- Light remembrance candles
- Deliver Christmas cards to nursing home residents on Christmas Day
Royal Valley FFA Chapter in Kansas is participating in something they call “Thanksmas.” Their advisor, Kim Clark, said, “It is to raise up people we are thankful for at Christmas time. From Black Friday until Dec. 9, we had a google form on our Facebook page for people to nominate a friend, acquaintance, teacher, colleague, complete stranger, or anyone else who has made an impact and deserves a little holiday cheer.”
Kim continued, “We will celebrate 20 people in our community and will have one grand prize winner who will receive a holiday care basket from the Royal Valley FFA Chapter. We are currently going through our nominations (we had around 75, but we are a very small community), and we will choose the winning nomination to receive $125 in gift cards and a miniature tree, and 20 winners to receive a poinsettia that has been grown in our greenhouse. We will give each person a hand-written Christmas card that has some of the kind words that were said about them outlined in the note. We will deliver them to each winner the week before Christmas.”
Clay County FFA in Kansas lives in a community with a tradition that on the third Thursday of the month, businesses downtown open up their shops and bring items outside for people to look at and buy. Advisor Ashley Tonn said, “It’s a great way to bring our community together, and during December we have a Lighted Christmas Parade during the third Thursday event. Decorated trees are placed all around the courthouse square and are decorated by clubs, businesses, and groups in town. They are strung with lights and then lit up until Christmas. During the Lighted Christmas Parade, the high school select choir called Tiger Chorale goes and sings downtown for the community. A small parade is put together by groups that enter a decorated float and then are taken on a course through the downtown area.”
Tonn continued, “This year during these activities, we will be hosting a soup supper fundraiser at Common Ground, which is located downtown. The ingredients for the soups are gathered by our chapter members and then used to make the soups before the event. This year, we are making chicken noodle soup and chili for this fundraiser. Our idea was that since most of the community will be there for the parade, they can come and get some food and sit in an area where they can still witness what’s going on outside. We hold this fundraiser to have as one of our chapter’s community service. The money we raise goes to an organization of our choosing. The money we raise this year will be donated to the Clay Center Zoo, which is currently having renovations being done.
In Alabama, the Enterprise FFA Chapter is raising money for a very special cause. This hurricane season, Alabama got hit by Hurricane Michael. The students wanted to do something special for those in need. For those who don’t know, the Iron Bowl is a football game between rivals, Auburn and Alabama. Both college universities have loyal fan base throughout the state.
To raise money, FFA students cut out wooden footballs, painted them the respective team colors and mascot. After finding out which team teachers supported, they would hang up their rival colors on their door. Along with the wooden football, a ransom note was left reading, “We heard you switched teams and now support the other. If that is not true, for a donation to the Hurricane Michael victims, we will remove the football and give it to a different teacher. This was a fun way to get the whole school involved and for the students to help out others who may not have had the opportunity to have Christmas without those donations.
We love seeing FFA Chapters reaching out, volunteering, and being a leader in their community. With hearts like these, we believe the future is looking merry and bright.