The Idaho agriculture industry has a long and rich history of ranching. It has been at the heart of Idaho’s diverse and abundant history and rooted in not only the state’s history but also weaved into the legacy of the families that work the land, day in and day out. Through their Ridin’ for the Brand Fundraiser, the Shelley FFA Chapter honored that heritage, brought together past and present agriculturists, and served their community.
Starting in October, members of the Shelley FFA Chapter approached local ranchers in their area with an opportunity to both support the chapter and share their family’s history. The idea was simple: sell advertising space for rancher’s brands to be placed and printed on their FFA chapter sweatshirts. Rather than stopping there though, the members of the Shelley FFA Chapter decided to take it one step further. The funds raised were used to purchase beef, which was then donated to those in need in their local community.
After a semester of planning, soliciting, and working on this project, on December 22nd, the Shelley FFA Chapter donated 289 pounds of ground beef through dollars raised from 40 ranchers for those in need.
“Our local food banks needed food,” said Collin Kelley, Shelley FFA Chapter President, “We felt that we needed to give back and show our community that FFA is part of that community.”
A SCHOOL WIDE EFFORT
To make an even larger impact, the Shelley FFA Chapter contributed their ground beef to the Goodfellow Drive, a school-wide project that packs food boxes for area families in need. The local Kiwanis club heads the project up and other service groups including the National Honors Society, Natural Helpers, and Key Club assist in putting everything together.
This year, for the first time, the Shelley FFA Chapter decided to join the fold and lend a helping hand in the efforts.
“Our school has been doing this program for a long time. This year we decided that getting involved with this project would be the best way to distribute all the meat that we were able to donate,” said Peyton Stoddard, Shelley FFA Vice President, “We knew that through this project people who were truly in need in our community would receive the meat.”
In total, 289 food boxes were donated to families in need in their community.
CONNECTING A COMMUNITY
Shelley’s history is deeply rooted in agriculture and ranching. The Shelley FFA Chapter has a unique opportunity to connect the agricultural roots to its community, and through this program, was able to do just this.
“Asking for brands brought everyone together, and made it feel like we were coming together as a community,” said Preston Anderson, Shelley FFA Vice President.
And the program accomplished just that: connecting the community together and bridging the gaps between them.
“Our local ranchers were excited to be involved and find new ways to reach their community,” said Collin, “They didn’t think twice or even hesitate to help, they responded immediately and were eager to do so.”
Moving forward, they intend to continue this program as long as it continues to serve their community.
“I think it is so important to give back to my community because of the amount of support the community gives our FFA chapter,” said Peyton, “It’s like one constant rotation when our chapter has needed support and help our community has shown up and helped us. I think it is so important to give back in ways that we can so that those that have supported us in the past know how much we appreciate them!”