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Living to serve: Branson FFA volunteers pack 12,848 meals


The last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve,” signifies service’s vital role in the FFA Organization.

For the Ozark Food Harvest, this time of year is pivotal in feeding 50,000 individuals per month. In Southwest Missouri, one in seven people is estimated to be food insecure, making this organization a cornerstone in bridging the gap between the fed and hungry in the area. When the food bank found itself short on volunteers, it reached out for help — and Branson FFA Chapter answered in spades.

“I ran the idea by our chapter officers, and they loved the idea, wanting to give back to those in need in our community,” said Branson FFA Chapter advisor Nicole Crocker.

Bringing 20 chapter members along for the ride, Crocker set out to help the food bank packages for senior citizens at or below the poverty line.

Image courtesy of Branson FFA

Advisors and FFA members lined up, working three hours to package 18 pallets of food, totaling 12,848 meals. Each meal box included cereal, chicken, canned foods, peanut butter, powdered milk, rice, and more. The boxes, packaged according to U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for seniors were then sealed, weighed, and loaded by FFA members. 

Each year, Ozark Foods provides more than 20 million meals annually through its 270 hunger-relief organizations across 28 counties. This, however, was the first time Branson FFA members volunteered with Ozark Food Harvest — and the kids loved it.

Image courtesy of Branson FFA

Crocker, who volunteered for Ozark Food Harvest in college, was excited for her students to have the same opportunity.

Crocker commented on the evening, “I had a moment last night as I looked down the row of FFA members working away that made my heart happy! It was a great feeling to see those FFA members give their evening up to give back, and I was excited to be there to see it and play a small part.”

Heidi Crnkovic, is the Associate Editor for AGDAILY. She is a New Mexico native with deep-seated roots in the Southwest and a passion for all things agriculture.

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The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of AGDAILY.