Tennessee 4-H’ers collect goods for Second Harvest Food Bank
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 8:03 pm
NASHVILLE — The face of hunger in Tennessee is getting younger and younger. One in five Tennessee children is at risk for hunger.
That startling and sad statistic comes from Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. At 4-H Congress in Nashville, 4-H delegates from across the state collected non-perishable food items for the charity as part of the service learning project for the event.
Tennessee 4-Hers collected and boxed the food items Sunday at the 4-H Congress Headquarters — the Downtown Sheraton Hotel at 623 Union St.
The 4-Hers gathered canned goods, juice boxes, granola bars and peanut butter and cracker packs for Second Harvest’s “Backpack” program. In many situations, when needy children don’t have a school lunch to eat on a Saturday or Sunday, they go without healthful foods. A backpack of food is sent home with the children to get them through the weekend. Second Harvest distributes healthy food items to 42 different schools and afterschool programs across Middle Tennessee through this effort. Second Harvest provides more than 213,000 emergency food boxes annually — and the need for food assistance has risen 36 percent over the past five years.
“Our 4-H members always rise to the occasion when a need is presented,” said Justin Crowe with the state 4-H office with University of Tennessee Extension in Knoxville. “Second Harvest Food Bank is doing a great thing to help so many children and families with this backpack program, and we are very happy to help fill this need. A service learning project like this one really teaches our 4-Hers the importance of giving your time and money to help other people.”
4-H Congress is an annual gathering of more than 400 ninth and 10th graders from across the state. They meet for three days in Nashville. They spent Monday morning in the House and Senate chambers of the State Capitol, where they debated and voted on bills and resolutions about issues important to today’s youth.
Since its beginning in 1948, more than 32,000 4-Hers and volunteers have come to Congress to learn more about our government. This is the 64th annual 4-H Congress. The theme for 2011 is “Tennessee 4-H: Reflection to Perfection.”
4-H is the youth development program of UT Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and life skills to more than 300,000 youth in grades 4-12. 4-H also has more than 18,000 adult volunteers statewide.
UT Extension operates in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties as the off-campus division of the UT Institute of Agriculture. An educational and outreach organization funded by federal, state and local governments, UT Extension, in cooperation with Tennessee State University, brings research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and youth and community development to the people of Tennessee where they live and work.
Published in The Messenger 3.29.11