BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — 134. That is the number of 4-H members, leaders and community members from Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties who made a difference in their communities by participating in a Meal Packaging Event at the Interstate Center on Saturday, September 30. Together, they all started with empty boxes and ended up with 102-packed full with 22,032 servings of food to distribute to area food banks.
With five lines of at least 10 people on a line, 102 boxes of 36 casseroles were packaged and made available to food pantries in the three counties and for the Midwest Food Bank. Another number to mention is 3,672, or the amount of Family Rice Casseroles these amazing volunteers packed in about three hours. Each bag will provide a meal for a family of six members. The smiles and laughs that filled our building that day proved that helping others is something our 4-H clubs and communities surely enjoy.
Since beginning to work with the Illini Fighting Hunger organization, 4-H members around the state have prepared enough packages to serve over 750,000 people. Youth of all ages from a variety of organizations in addition to
4-H also helped to make the event successful on Saturday.
The meal consisting of rice, soy flour, vitamin powder and dehydrated vegetables, when combined with water helps those in need. Staff members had prepared samples of the casseroles using additional food such as tuna, chicken, broccoli, cheese, corn and other items to enhance the flavor and nutrition. The fourth H of 4-H is for Health. This meal contained the nutrients in it to make a healthy meal by simply adding water.
While this was the first venture for the 4-H programs of Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties, it will not be their last. In fact, the 4-H Youth Development Team is checking out dates in April to hold our second event. State Farm Bank was one of the main sponsors along with the Feeding and Growing Our Communities Program through the Illinois 4-H Foundation. The Normal Rotary Club also made a contribution to lead the way for fundraising for the next event! The McLean County Fair Association gave the building rental as a gift-in-kind to the effort.
4-H clubs around the world lead the way in developing a sense of community service and service learning in its members. This is just one way that 4-H members and leaders contribute to “Their club, community, country, and world.” Thank you to everyone that helped make this event possible and such a great success!
Community organizations and individuals are still welcome to donate to future meal packaging events with a check payable to the McLean County Extension Service Foundation, with a note that the contribution is to be made available for future 4-H Meal Packaging Events. For more information on donating or getting involved in our 4-H & Extension programming, please visit us at go.illinois.edu/LMW or contact the McLean County Extension Office (1615 Commerce Parkway, Bloomington, IL 61704) at (309) 663-8306.
— University of Illinois Extension
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