BROWNSTOWN — Seeing the signs with an image of Jesus on the cross, the logo for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the words Shed for You on the building, Tammi Hackman was drawn to help.
The idea of a community building came up during FCA’s inaugural year in Brownstown, 2017, and students began raising money.
In March 2018, advisers and members attended a Brownstown Town Council meeting to share information about FCA and the community building. The organization received the council’s permission to place it in the town parking lot in the 100 block of West Walnut Street, which is in a safe, high-traffic area that’s visible and accessible.
The building was completed in June 2019, placed in the parking lot and had signage put on the front and sides. The door does not have a lock on it, so people can drop off donations of nonperishable food or toiletries or select items they need at any time, no questions asked.
A different FCA member is in charge of stopping by the building every day, whether it’s themselves, fellow FCA members or family members. The students also help fill up the shed year-round, either that day or other days when it’s their turn to stop by.
When she received an email from Bayer Fund about a grant opportunity through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, Hackman knew she would nominate Brownstown Central FCA.
“It just melted my heart from the beginning, no question about it,” she said of seeing the building for the first time and learning about its purpose.
Hackman lives on a family farm in Vallonia and purchases agricultural products through Bayer, and that company sends emails to farmers about the annual grant.
The Bayer Fund is a philanthropic arm of Bayer that sponsors the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, which awards grants to nonprofit organizations.
In her nomination, Hackman shared information about Shed for You and the efforts of the FCA members to keep it stocked for the community.
“It’s open to the community and it’s very well used, and it’s just something that I feel that kids learn a whole lot more about than just from a book,” Hackman said.
She also described how the FCA members benefit from helping with the community building.
“Instead of just going in to put products on the shelves, I hope each time that they look at those, they realize they can just probably walk in and get it out of their cabinet (at their home) … but it’s so much more when you realize that there are people who don’t have a simple item like peanut butter,” Hackman said. “The Lord just tells us to love one another and take care of each other. I hope that just carries on through the rest of their lives.”
When she received a call letting her know FCA had been chosen for a $2,500 grant, Hackman was excited.
“I’m just very, very thankful that we have the opportunity that we are involved in farming that we can nominate and that this company does give,” she said. “I was very, very thankful that they were able to get that money.”
FCA Adviser Jennifer Shade said the FCA students and sponsors are very grateful for Hackman stepping up and doing this and are humbled by Bayer’s desire to pick them for a grant.
In 2015, Hackman was among 13 local residents who submitted nominations that resulted in Brownstown Central High School being awarded a $25,000 America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant from Monsanto. That went to the school’s science and technology departments.