NEW PARIS —The National Trail Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter served 200 families from New Paris and the surrounding National Trail School District area with two meals through the first Basket of Hopes program held by NTFFA.
According to Advisor Eric Kennel, the chapter packed 200 bags of food, making up 400 meals on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 23, as around 200 students, alumni and parents came together to help give back to the community.
“Right now across the National FFA there is an initiative to ‘stomp out hunger.’ What better way to do that than providing meals through agriculture?” Kennel said. “On the national level, there is big campaign on hunger but we wanted to take that and make it local.”
Kerstain Casteel, the chapter’s recorder, explained the meals came with two main courses and several side items to provide healthier meals for the families. She said the goal was to provide a couple of night’s worth of food and also noted the group provided granola bars for healthier snacks.
The program was in partnership with the New Paris Food Pantry and the Wares Chapel United Methodist Church Food Bank in West Manchester. The two local food banks helped the National Trail FFA find families in need of food.
Casteel explained the students were charged with finding out the type of meals food pantries needed. She explained, after researching several of the FFA’s National initiatives, the students spoke to the local food banks about what they needed the most.
“It ties directly into our curriculum from our freshman to our seniors — identifying what meals they can provide to our families and how that is grown in the fields.” Kennel explained, “We researched that all the way to the processing stations and how we can disperse meals and cheaper inexpensive ways to get the families fed.”
Kennel said he is already working toward planning for a similar event next year.