Future leaders of Alabama agriculture demonstrated how they’re “living to serve” while packing 36,288 Meals of Hope for local foods banks during FFA State Convention in Montgomery June 5.
The service project, inspired by the FFA motto of “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve,” involved over 200 students from across the state. The Alabama Wheat & Feed Grain Producers donated $5,000 to the project along with sponsorship by the National FFA Organization.
“Farmers feed the world, and these FFA students were ready to give back to their communities,” said Leon Sporrer, the Meals of Hope representative on hand as 18 assembly lines of students prepared cinnamon-sugar and apple oatmeal packages.
Pleasant Valley FFA students filled one assembly line while sporting their National Blue corduroy jackets stitched with Corn Gold. The Jacksonville natives agreed the project encouraged teamwork while helping others.
“Coming down here to help the community helps us learn to work together as a team,” said junior Bailey Schultz. “We’re making an impact by feeding other people.”
Recent Pleasant Valley High School graduate Kiana Simpson echoed her Calhoun County classmate.
“The key is to work together and bond,” Simpson said. “And we’re learning life skills. Someone needs this more than we do.”
The service project was just one facet of the 91st state convention June 4-7, where over 1,200 students assembled to earn proficiency awards, fine-tune skills and elect state officers.
During the FFA career show, the Alabama Farmers Federation photo booth merged a passion for agriculture with social media. Students who posted their photos to Facebook and Instagram using #FarmingFeedsAlabama received a free T-shirt.
Federation Young Farmers Division Director Jennifer Christenberry said the organization’s involvement in FFA helps mold future leaders.
“I’ve experienced firsthand the impact FFA can have on these students’ lives,” said Christenberry, a former National FFA officer. “FFA encourages practical skills — from knowledge of agriscience to the value of teamwork. We’re excited to invest in youth who will represent Alabama’s No. 1 industry in the coming years.”
FFA advocates were also inducted into the Wall of Honor, including Macon County Farmers Federation President Shep Morris. Other inductees were Chip Blanton, Whitney Dyess, Jack Harris, Sarah Murchison and John Ward.