Emily Hanlin mugshotBy Emily Hanlin

Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau

BOONE COUNTY – After a huge meal on Thanksgiving Thursday, my family shopped until we dropped on Black Friday. Soon after that, we snatched the best online deals possible on Cyber Monday. But then, on Tuesday we did something new. For the first time we participated in Giving Tuesday.

According to givingtuesday.org, “GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.”

My family participated by donating canned goods to our local food pantry. This way of giving is something that happens pretty often at the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), Farm Bureau’s young farmers and ranchers, or young leaders, have worked side by side with Feeding America for the past 10 years to help provide food to those in need around our country through the Harvest for All Campaign.

The initial partnership between the American Farm Bureau Federation and Feeding America began when AFBF offered its support to Feeding America’s first Hunger Awareness Day on June 5, 2002.

Since then, farmers and ranchers across the nation donate food, funds and people power to create a hunger-free America.

“And whether the contribution is a bushel, a dollar, or an hour, Farm Bureau and Feeding America will be working together to finish an important job: making sure every American can enjoy the bounty produced on our farms and ranches” AFBF stated.

In 2014, YF&R programs across the country donated a whopping 42 million pounds of food, spent 14,000 hours volunteering, and donated 1.2 million dollars to their local food banks.

“Harvest for All is one of those feel-good programs where everyone can get behind a good cause and help those who are less fortunate,” Jennifer Smith, former Young Leader manager for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said.

Illinois’ young farmers and agriculturalists proved to be among the nation’s most generous, earning first place among states for funds and hours in 2011.

They volunteered 4,081 hours and distributed $401,761 to food banks and pantries. The donated food weighed in at 503,602 Giving youthpounds.

In addition to the state committee, the Young Leader committees at the county level also organize activities to support local food pantries. The Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau Young Leaders is hosting their 2nd Annual Meat Raffle. The meat is donated by local producers and the processing is donated by Eickman’s Processing Co.

Tickets can be purchased at the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau office. Prizes are as follows: first place: a quarter of beef; second place: half a hog; third place: a quarter of beef and fourth place: half a hog.

The tickets are one for $5 or three tickets for $10.

The drawing will be held at the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau’s 96thAnnual Meeting on Tuesday, March 15. You need not be present to win. All proceeds will go to the Rock River Valley Food Pantry.

Don’t have enough room in your freezer and want to lend a hand? The Winnebago Boone Farm Bureau Young Leaders will host a non-perishables food drive through Friday, Dec. 18.

Donations of can goods and non-perishable items may be dropped off at the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau office located at 1925 S. Meridian Road in Rockford, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All donations will be given to the local food pantries in Boone and Winnebago counties.

“Young Leaders have a huge heart,” Smith said. “They realize they are very fortunate, and they want to share that wealth with everybody else.”

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