Thanksgiving might look a little different this year–not as many large family gatherings, not as many in-person Black Friday sales–but FFA members around the country are working together to ensure their communities still have the food they need.
For example, the FFA members at the Lawrence Free State High School FFA in Kansas worked on gleaning from local gardens and/or farms, while members of the Tillamook FFA in Oregon organized a food drive and members of the Faded Blues Alumni FFA in North Carolina organized a food drive and developed a community garden. Many other members participated in food drives and gleaning gardens as well as creating food pantries.
It’s all part of the National Days of Service program through the National FFA Organization. Traditionally, members who attend the National FFA Convention & Expo participate in National Days of Service (NDoS), giving back to the community hosting the event. This year, the convention went virtual–so the National Days of Service program challenged members across the country to give back where they live. It’s all part of a bigger initiative by the organization to have nationwide community engagement programs for NDoS, sponsored by CoBank and Tractor Supply Company.
There were four areas that chapters were encouraged to explore: community safety; hunger, health and nutrition; environmental responsibility; and community engagement.
While more than 4,855 volunteers from 318 chapters across the country participated in the National Days of Service overall (from 45 states as well as Puerto Rico), 115 chapters focused specifically on hunger, health and nutrition. In fact, more than 1,512 members volunteered for a total of 5,691 hours. (Thirty-six states and Puerto Rico participated in this area for the National Days of Service.)
“We know service is an important part of the FFA experience for our members,” said Michele Sullivan, senior manager of local engagement for the National FFA Organization. “With convention going virtual this year, FFA was excited to launch the first-ever National Days of Service set to take place across the country. Members stepped up and put their leadership into action by serving their community in need. We plan to continue the virtual National Days of Service, along-side our in-person event, for years to come.”