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Crest High School FFA coordinates food packaging project for those in need
Another view of the Crest FFA student-members and volunteers preparing food for the 50,000-plus Meals of Hope plates. (Photo provided)

Crest High School Agriculture Teacher Matt Harris said recently the school's FFA Chapter coordinated a project with "Meals of Hope" on Feb. 25 that packaged 51,840 meals for those in need in Cleveland County.

Harris noted the project was conducted at Poplar Springs Baptist Church and involved local FFA Chapters from Cleveland County and volunteers from various local organizations.

Said Harris via email, "Crest FFA member, Michael Callahan, became interested in the effort after attending the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) back in the summer. The conference is conducted by the National FFA Organization and focuses on helping build leadership skills that translate into increased service for the local community."

He noted Callahan is the Vice President for the Crest FFA Chapter and served as the chairperson for the "Crest FFA Feeds Cleveland County" committee that coordinated the project. For his part, Callahan said the project is "...a great way to build community through service."

The meals packaged through this effort, Harris wrote, "...were provided to schools throughout Cleveland County using the school social workers. Additionally, meals are also available through a partnership with the Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association."

He continued, "The meals packaged through this project are non-perishable and shelf-stable, aiding in the availability of the meals to help those that need them the most. Funding for this project was acquired by student members contacting local sponsors and receiving support and donations. Volunteers were provided lunch on the day of the event sponsored by Poplar Springs Baptist Church and the Runway Cafe."

According to Mr. Harris, the "Crest FFA Chapter has 238 student-members and is part of the North Carolina FFA Association, a youth

organization of 32,597 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture. FFA's mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education."

Callahan, who has been in the FFA since 8th grade, said this was the first time they had done something like this. Meals of Hope is based out of Naples, Fla., and he stated they will most likely be involved in this event again.

For more information about the FFA, please visit www.ncffa.org.

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