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Examiner
  • Fort Osage FFA students helping fight hunger

  • Sarah Daubendiek was more than a little surprised when she learned how many people in her community go hungry every day.



    “I was shocked when I found out how many kids go without food, even at our own high school,” said the junior at Fort Osage High School. “This is a real opportunity to spread the word about this issue and get people involved in making a difference.”

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  • Sarah Daubendiek was more than a little surprised when she learned how many people in her community go hungry every day.
    “I was shocked when I found out how many kids go without food, even at our own high school,” said the junior at Fort Osage High School. “This is a real opportunity to spread the word about this issue and get people involved in making a difference.”
    The Fort Osage High School FFA chapter is one of only 30 in the United States chosen by the National FFA organization to participate in the 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 the hunger problem in their own communities.
    “I really hope that the students learn that there is a need out there and have a desire to help their neighbor,” said Craig Zwahlen, the agriculture instructor and FFA sponsor at the Fort Osage Career and Technology Center. “Every five seconds, a child dies from hunger. I want them to realize the impact of that statement and work toward change in their community.”
    The pilot program is sponsored by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. Fort Osage will also be partnering with its local ADM grain elevator and the Feeding America Food Bank, which in Kansas City is Harvesters, to help provide relief for those in need.
    The Fort Osage students have been busy researching the hunger crisis in Jackson County and preparing a presentation. They will give that presentation at four community meetings over the next few weeks, trying to reach out to every corner of the school district.
    “I feel like this is a privilege to be chosen as one of a handful of chapters to participate in this program,” said Adam Dickmeyer, a Fort Osage junior. “This will be a good experience for us and will give us an opportunity to interact with our community.”
    Zwahlen said the Fort Osage chapter was chosen for the program because it is not a typical FFA chapter.
    “We are not your traditional agriculture program. We are more urban, so we have additional resources available to us,” he said. “We really want to get out to the public the different ways they can help by planting an extra row in their garden, which can be donated to a local food bank or helping out with the BackSnack program.”
    Through the BackSnack program, backpacks full of food are provided to children from low income households for the weekend. This way, children are ensured of getting meals during the two day when they are not in school. The program is dependent on local participation in the form of monetary donations or sponsorships.
    Page 2 of 2 - BreAnne Houghtaling, a senior at Fort Osage High School, said the goal of the Invest 2 Fight Hunger, is to get awareness out there so local organizations and community members will see the need and want to help.
    “We want to show them that there is a problem out there and give them ways to help solve that problem in the community,” she said. “This is great for our chapter because it gets us more involved in our community and allows us to be involved in this fight to end hunger.”
     

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