Some know this line, “Living to Serve,” as the last in the FFA Motto.

Some know this line, “Living to Serve,” as the last in the FFA Motto. For Sleepy Eye FFA members, service may be one of the first words they think of when they think of what FFA is all about.

This summer, the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter applied for a National FFA Semester Long Living to Serve Grant for $3,000 in order to help with the Trinity Backpack program. This program includes food bags each week and Holiday Gift Boxes. With the generosity of the National FFA, CoBank, Tractor Supply Company, CSX, Chevrolet, and Cargill, the Living to Serve Grant became a reality for the Sleepy Eye FFA.

The Backpack program is where students at risk for hunger receive bags of food for the weekend, with a family meal — main dishes, fruit, vegetables, and a snack. The FFA grant money is being used to help with several extensions of the Backpack food program, including: Birthday Boxes for each elementary participant, extra fruit in each food bag, snack pantry for grades 5 to 8, personal care items for the Holiday Gift Boxes, and food pantry for grades 7 and 8.

Thirty-four FFA members worked to cut and/or tie 17 blankets that went into the Holiday Gift Boxes for the families. Fourteen members were also able to pack the meals that went to the 52 children’s families in need. Advisor, Mrs. Hoffmann, and Morgan Hoffmann, the Chapter Student Advisor, shopped for the personal care items that went into the holiday boxes for the families. These items included toothbrushes, toothpaste, kids shampoo, and kids body wash.

There were 36 FFA members involved in all aspects of this grant project, each contributing an average of one hour of community service. There were 15 non-FFA members helping with this project, as well as 40 adult community members.

The Sleepy Eye FFA is thrilled to be a part of this amazing project that Trinity Lutheran Church conducts, along with numerous community partners, providing food to students all school year long. Receiving this grant and helping with this project was a great way for members to contribute to the community and build relationships while doing so.