NEW PARIS — Thousands of people across Preble County will have the supplies to prepare and enjoy two recipes this season, thanks to the National Trail FFA’s Bags of Hope project.
“Today we’re bagging 500 bags of food,” FFA Advisor Eric Kennel said on Tuesday, Nov. 16. “Each bag includes ingredients for two recipes for families in Preble County, so we can impact 500 families. We calculate it out to be about 4,000 people in the county that can benefit from this contribution.”
Bags of Hope began approximately six years ago with a group of students who went to the National FFA Convention, according to Kennel. “And they said, ‘Mr. Kennel we would like to do something for our community food-wise,’ because they saw an example of that at the National FFA Convention.”
“So, we came home, modified what they saw to fit Preble County, and what they felt would be needed,” Kennel added.
The group works with the area food pantries and school Success Liaisons in each Preble County School District according to Kennel.
“To me it’s an awesome thing just for the fact that it’s an idea that started with the kids, and they see the need every year. They see that need and they want to continue. They don’t know what those kids thought of six years ago. Now, those kids six years ago still contact me, and they see our Facebook posts, and they say, ‘I remember when we did that the first time, when it was 200 bags.’”
Over the six years since it’s inception, Bags of Hope has grown from giving out under 300 bags of food, to the 500 it is donating this year.
“We obviously could not do this without the funding of Henny Penny’s Employee Foundation,” Kennel added. The foundation sponsored a grant for $5,000. NT FFA provided $280, and Farm Credit Mid-America provided the bags to do the project this year, he added.
FFA Chapter members and other students helped bag the food — in approximately 20 minutes. Representatives from the Henny Penny Employee Foundation were on hand to observe the packing event.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.