By: Hannah Adkisson, Contributing Writer
During the upcoming holiday season, the Centralia FFA chapter has several service projects planned. On Friday, November 17, the chapter traveled to Columbia to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. While there, they cooked a meal for the residents. Additionally, the chapter is raising money for Toys for Tots and hosting their annual canned food drive.
The Ronald McDonald House is a free service provided to the families of children who are long-term patients of the University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The Ronald McDonald House strives to keep families together during the emotional stress of having an injured or sick child by offering housing near the hospital. This service is helpful for these families because it prevents parents from potentially being separated by hundreds of miles while their child is in the hospital.
Throughout the year, volunteers work together to donate many necessities and services to the housing units. Some of these services include donating items such as laundry and toiletry supplies, as well as donating food items. Some volunteers also donate their time to cook dinner for the residents in the evenings.
In addition to volunteering at Ronald McDonald House, the Ag Sales class made six fleece blankets they will donate to children who are staying at Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
The chapter is currently raising money for Toys for Tots, and their annual canned food drive is taking place in December. The chapter decided to raise funds for Toys for Tots after one of the officers heard about the storage unit in Fulton being robbed. All of the stored toys were stolen, leaving that area’s Toys for Tots organization with nothing. Local businesses and patrons are currently raising funds for this organization, and the cause has been nicknamed “Stealing Back Christmas.” The chapter has a goal of raising $500 before Christmas.
The chapter is also in the middle of their annual canned food drive. This drive has grown to include donations from CHS, CIS and CES. The chapter works with local churches to procure a list of families in need, and the food is distributed to them before Christmas. This Centralia FFA tradition has been an annual event in the community for over 20 years, and the amount of food collected has grown each year. Each year the collected food is able to feed 7-10 needy families in Centralia.