“I pledge my hands to larger service..” is not just the 4-H pledge but a practice that Minnesota 4-H youth integrate into their daily lives. Thanks to special funding from Compeer Financial, youth from across the state recently partnered with local food shelves and nutrition organizations to organize healthy food and essential supply drives to support neighbors in need.
Baby supplies in Rice County
The Big Giants 4-H Club of Rice County wanted to collect supplies for local residents who might be experiencing financial insecurity because of the pandemic. They decided that supporting new and young families was their best option. 4-H youth did radio interviews as well as posted flyers around town and on social media to help spread the word about their project. Seven donation boxes were set up across Northfield and Dundas. In total, 2,125 diapers; 53 packs of baby wipes; 28 formula containers; 75 jars of baby food and a host of clothes, bottles, and other supplies were donated to the Northfield Community Action Center, with an estimated value of all $1200.
Supporting children in Chisago County
The Northern Lights 4-H Club of Chisago County partnered with Viking Vittles, a food assistance program that helps children access healthy foods when schools are closed. 4-H youth provided supplies to help this up and coming program to find sure footing in North Branch. Their contributions included drop-off site flags, a new logo, community flyers and stickers.
Little free pantries in Dakota County
After the only local grocery store in Farmington closed in December 2019, Dakota County 4-H knew they needed to respond to the local need. A group of youth and adults assembled food pantries to address growing food insecurity in their community. They called their effort the 4-H Free Little Pantry Project. Dakota County Public Health provided the youth with GIS maps indicating food access points, poverty levels, and organizations that currently serve areas within the county. With this information, the youth are deciding where pantries will be most helpful.
Spreading the word about food access in Meeker County
The Kimball Kruisers 4-H Club of Meeker County knew that their local food shelf was well-equipped to support families and individuals who needed a helping hand. But many community members didn't know how accessible that help was when they needed it. These 4-H youth took on an awareness campaign to build community knowledge about the food shelf. They designed informative posters, which they printed and hung up throughout Kimble. Now more residents are aware where and how to access the support they might need.