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Muncy church hosts youth service project

MUNCY — First United Methodist Church of Muncy played host to the recent annual Future Farmers of America Northern Regional Leadership Conference.

Students from all over Central Pennsylvania gathered to enrich themselves in the organization’s goal to prepare “members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.”

Barry Grove, who serves as treasurer for the church, said the church had partnered with working the Global Aid Network (GAiN) and Experience Missions to raise money for people in need. Grove said the church raised $2,400 to purchase the seeds for the FFA students to sort.

Annette Gray, the FFA regional coordinator, estimated about 70 high school students representing schools from Selinsgrove, Danville, Athens, Northern Potter, Central Columbia and Benton took part in the event.

Chapters in Lycoming County chose not to participate, Gray said. However, she mentioned that students from the Montgomery school district were in the process of starting an FFA chapter. She said the main requirements to join the FFA were to be part of a school’s agriculture program and participate in a supervised agricultural project.

During the morning workshops, Gray said students learned about budgeting, using social media, recruiting for fundraising and various activities the local chapters could participate in.

After the workshops, students participated in a volunteer work project where they packed cabbage seeds that will be send to families in need in other parts of the world.

The students were divided into different groups.

The first put labels on envelope, the second put seeds into the corresponding envelopes, and a third rubber banded the envelopes into bundles. Those bundles were put into boxes to be shipped to wherever they were needed.

According to Rachel Yoder, GAiN Coordinator, the boxes would be shipped to the Middle East, the horn of Africa, Central America or whichever of those areas had the most need.

“There is a large demand for these seeds,” Yoder said. She said each packet could produce about 10 pounds of food.

Yoder explained that each family would be given three packets with different vegetables. They would then be taught how to grow the seeds and how to harvest seeds from the plants that developed.

Yoder said it was expected the FFA members would pack 9,600 seed packets and that would have an impact for over 16,000 individuals.

“It’s amazing to see them get a hands-on experience that would directly impact someone’s life,” Yoder said.

Gray praised their efforts and said the students were having fun.

“It gives you a good feeling to see this, not only for the future of agriculture, but the whole community as well,” Gray said.

David Steinfelt, an agriculture teacher and faculty advisor for the FFA from the Athens Area School District, said this gives his students a chance to give back.

“There’s not a lot of young people who get involved with community service projects, so this is something good for the community,” Steinfelt said.

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