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Examiner
  • Local FFA members fighting hunger

  • The Blue Springs FFA chapter is hoping that through their community presentations, a greater emphasis can be placed on fighting hunger and looking for ways to solve a growing problem.

     

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  • The Blue Springs FFA chapter is hoping that through their community presentations, a greater emphasis can be placed on fighting hunger and looking for ways to solve a growing problem.
    “This is a huge problem in our society,” Nick Dungy said at Monday’s Blue Springs Board of Education meeting. “People every day are going hungry.”
    Five FFA chapters in Missouri have been chosen to participate in the National FFA organization’s Invest 2 Fight Hunger Pilot Program. The idea is to provide students with the opportunity to use their leadership skills by educating the community about its own hunger problems. The program is sponsored by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
    As part of the group’s participation in the pilot program, the chapter members have been researching statistics in Jackson County and Missouri of those who go hungry daily. Katie Smith, a local FFA chapter member, said just more than 15 percent of people in Jackson County are food insecure, meaning they do not know when or where their next meal will come from. She said this issue most often impacts children, single-parent homes and the elderly.
    “They can’t always afford to pay their bills and buy food at the same time,” Smith said. “That leads to food insecurity or food uncertainty.”
    Some of the local programs working to fight hunger are the Blue Springs School District’s summer food program and the BackSnack Program. The program, offered by Harvesters, provides backpacks of food to low-income children for the weekend so they do not go hungry for the two days each week they are not in school.
    Harvesters, a clearinghouse for the collection and distribution of food in Kansas City, helps an estimated 66,000 people each week and distributed more than 41 million pounds of food to those in need last year.
    “I think our goal is to make sure people know that just because we might have enough food doesn’t mean everyone does,” Smith said. “I think if we share that information with more students and let them know how special it is to have food on the table, they will want to help fight the problem too.”
     
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