The Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer campaign is threefold.
First, it benefits a county fair or an organization that leads the food drive during the fair.
Second, it benefits local food banks.
Third, it benefits the people in the community who will receive the donated items.
The Jackson County Fair is among 16 county fairs in Indiana participating in the contest. The Jackson County 4-H Goat Club is partnering with Farm Credit Mid-America and Rural 1st in conducting the food drive at the fair, which starts Sunday and runs through July 30 at the fairgrounds in Brownstown.
Fairgoers are encouraged to bring as many nonperishable food and personal hygiene items and place them in a stock trailer near the Farm Bureau building on the far east end of the fairgrounds.
Jason Wynn, one of the leaders of the goat club, said Main Trailer Sales LLC in Seymour donated a trailer to use throughout the week.
“Every night, when we fill it up, then we also have a semi box trailer that’s sitting on the fairgrounds somewhere, and if we need to make room out of the trailer, we’re going to transfer that into the bigger semitrailer that has been donated to use this week,” he said.
Cummins Inc. helped the club obtain a certified weight on the trailer that will determine the number of pounds. That will be tracked throughout the week, and the final tally will be shared with the organizers.
The goat club is taking the competition a step farther by incorporating the Battle of the Barns, which will pit the various livestock barns against each other in a variety of activities the night of July 29.
“We’ll have clipboards on the trailer, and if the sheep kids bring 15 cans in, they are going to mark 15, swine barn brings 40 cans in …” Wynn said. “We’ll tally those up every day up until Friday, and then we’ll turn those numbers in to the people running the Battle of the Barns, and whoever collects the most throughout the week will get additional points added onto their score for the Battle of the Barns points.”
Once all of the participating county fairs have ended this summer, the top three based on total pounds of items donated will be announced. First place will receive $5,000, second place will get $3,500 and third place will be given $1,500. Each participant will receive a participation prize of $500, which will be awarded during their county fair.
“The only goal we have is to get as much as we can to help the community,” Wynn said.
Anyone who attends the fair can contribute.
“It doesn’t have to be just 4-H’ers. It can be anybody that’s coming to walk the midway or walk throughout the buildings,” Wynn said. “If they want to bring five or six cans up in the trailer, it’s a great way to give back to the community, and they would be showing support for the 4-H kids doing this that it’s not just 4-H but wanting to encourage the community as a whole to help give back to one another.”
After the fair, goat club members will take donated items to the communities in which they live and deliver them, whether it be to the little food pantries around the county, the Shed for You community buildings in Brownstown and Freetown or Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry or I Care Ministries Food Pantry in Seymour.
“That way, each of the 4-H families has their hands in delivering and stocking and seeing that part of it, too,” Wynn said.
He said fellow club leaders Lenora Mathena and Jessica Sons headed the logistics of the project, and the club is happy to have an opportunity to earn some money and help the community at the same time.
Farm Credit Mid-America had approached Heather VonDielingen, Jackson County 4-H youth extension educator, about the contest, and she knew the goat club is active in helping with community service projects. Plus, members participate in the goat milk relay with first responders, quiet barn time for individuals with special needs, goat variety show and Battle of the Barns at the fair.
“She threw it to the goat club leaders and asked if it’s something we would be interested in, and we decided ‘Yeah, sure. We’ll take it on,’” Wynn said. “It’s a good way for our club members and the other 4-H’ers here in the county to work together to donate to the food pantries throughout the county.”