June 30, 2014
The 2013-2014 Alabama FFA officers participated in a press conference for the FFA Rally To Fight Hunger. From left are Alabama FFA Foundation representative and Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg, Hayden Whittle of Geneva, secretary; William Norris of Wetumpka, president; Bailey Sims of Marbury, vice president; Shelby Windham of Ariton, treasurer; Kelsey Faulkner of Ardmore, reporter; Alyssa Hutcheson of Red Bay, sentinel; and Walmart Marketing Manager for the Montgomery Area Jennifer Bedingfield.
Alabama FFA students showcased their talents, learned leadership skills and volunteered their time at the 86th annual State FFA Convention in Montgomery June 3-6. More than 1,900 students, teachers and parents from across Alabama traveled to the capitol city for the state competitions, career expo and workshops.
On June 4 of the conference, volunteers participated in the second annual FFA Rally To Fight Hunger by packing meals for the Montgomery Area Food Bank, which serves 35 counties. Out-going Alabama FFA President and 2014 Wetumpka High School graduate William Norris said the project embodied the FFA motto of “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Serve.”
“We’re learning what it takes to provide for others, to confront the problem of hunger and find a solution,” Norris said. “We’re taking action to improve our community. It is inspiring and humbling to lead a group of students committed to serving others through FFA.”
Even Aubie the tiger, Auburn University’s mascot, joined in the volunteering when he donned a hair net and took pictures with students. In just six hours, the group exceeded its goal by packaging more than 81,000 meals, which more than doubled the amount donated in 2013.
The FFA Rally To Fight Hunger was made possible by the Alabama FFA Foundation and a $25,000 grant awarded by the Walmart Foundation.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this project,” said Jennifer Bedingfield, Walmart market manager for the Montgomery region. “It is estimated that one in six Americans deals with hunger daily. At Walmart, we know that fulfilling the needs of the hungry starts at the local level, which is why we are supporting the Alabama FFA Foundation for today’s Rally To Fight Hunger.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation sponsored a table at the convention’s career expo. FFA members posed for pictures at the photo booth, while holding up posters with ag facts.
Students also participated in 80 different competition areas, including forestry, landscaping, wildlife management, meats evaluation and prepared public speaking.
In a unique contest, the Arab High School FFA string band strummed its way to the title of “Best String Band.” Alabama is the only state that still has this competition.
State winners for all contests will represent Alabama at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., in October. The national convention is the largest student gathering in the world.