Dale Minyo visited Cambridge to talk with Jennie Schultice and Jennifer Kroft about “Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer.”

“Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer” has high hopes for third year

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

The bar has been raised for the “Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer” program from Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) and Rural 1st as the effort kicks off for its third year in 2023.

The program sets the stage for, and incentivizes, junior fair youth leaders in counties around Ohio to collect donations for area food pantries during their county fair.

“We are empowering the youth on our junior fair boards and they’re going to get creative on how to bring in canned food to the local fair that week of the fair. Then they’re going to take all that food and donate it to their local community,” said Jennie Schultice, FCMA financial officer. “We started this back in 2021 with eight counties. Last year we jumped to 54 county fairs participating and this year we’re going to move into all five regions of the state, so this will be offered to all counties that we serve this year and we’re looking for bigger and better things in 2023.”

With upfront funding from FCMA and Rural 1st for their efforts and prize money awards for the county fairs collecting the most pounds of food, the initial years of “Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer” have seen impressive results. At just a handful of county fairs in year one of the program, 21,000 pounds of food were collected. In the second year, nearly 170,000 pounds of food were collected for those in need, averaging over 3,000 pounds of food per county. This year the goal is to exceed 250,000 pounds of food collected around the state. 

The youth participants have been able to come up with some clever ways to encourage donations to benefit their communities while also benefitting the county fair. Kissing a pig, a best mullet contest and pies in the face have all been tools employed in the program to help generate food and financial donations. In Muskingum County, monetary donations were collected for the effort at a church service held at the fair and, on Wednesday of the 2022 Muskingum County Fair, there was free admission for those bringing a couple of cans of food to donate to the effort to provide food for Christ’s Table in Zanesville. 

“By allowing them to come in on Wednesday with two canned foods, it did allow families in that might not be able to afford to come to the fair. They came to the fair and supported the vendors, but they were also able to put food on the stock trailer. Muskingum County collected over 9,000 pounds of food,” Schultice said. “The lady from Christ’s Table was there and she was very emotional because the shelves were bare and she needed that food to be able to support that county and feed people. It was a very emotional day and the kids got to see that. Everybody wants to donate food around the holidays so, to our food banks, this is very special because kids are out of school so they’re having to provide more food to those families and they’re not receiving all those donations during the summertime. These youth at the local fair are making a big impact during the summer months for these food banks.”

In addition to providing initial funding to the fairs for marketing the program and prize money, FCMA and Rural 1st staff members provide support for the young people as they formulate plans and strategies to collect food.

“We’re trying to help our youth make this successful by giving them some seed money so they can market it, work with their local food pantries, recognize what type of items that they need to focus on, work with the local businesses, collect money, and get them on board. We are seeing these junior fair, 4-H and FFA members working together to recognize the need and make an impact in their community,” said Jennifer Kroft, Rural 1st Loan officer. “That recognition — knowing they can make a difference in this program — they can take that further after school. They see that they can really make a difference.” 

With county fair season almost here, “Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer” planning and signup has already begun for 2023. Reach out to your local FCMA retail office to sign up for the program ahead of your county fair.

Check Also

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast, July 16, 2024

July 16, 2024 -- Showers and thunderstorms will try to work into Ohio today, but generally, we miss out on large swaths of moisture...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *