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4-H Clubs to Give Helping Hand Against Hunger

If one Iowa 4-H club in one county can raise money for a local food bank, why can’t every 4-H club in every county do the same? The idea made sense to the Country Clover 4-H Club in Lucas County, so they’ve challenged every 4-H club in Iowa to make a difference in an effort they call “4-H clubs giving a helping hand against hunger.”

“With so many people out of work, donations down and the holidays coming up, your local food banks are going to need help,” Country Clover Club President Josh Ruth wrote in a letter to all Iowa 4-H clubs.

Ruth’s club came up with the idea as they were deciding on this year’s community service project. When they learned about the needs facing the local food bank, having their annual pizza party didn’t seem so important. Instead, they decided to donate their pizza money to their local food bank along with other contributions totaling $100. Club leader Tammie Ruth said they also plan to donate proceeds from an upcoming raffle to the food bank.

“One of our members suggested we challenge the other clubs in our county to do the same and someone else said, why not every club in the state?” Josh Ruth wrote. “We challenge all 4-H clubs in Iowa to donate any amount of money to your county’s food bank.”

The County Clovers are requesting only one thing in return — that by Jan. 30, 2010, participating clubs let them know what they do locally. The club plans to keep track of the effort as a statewide community service project.

“This is not a challenge of who can give the most — it’s a challenge for you to open your hearts and just give,” Josh Ruth explained.

The Lucas County Country Clover 4-H club includes Josh Ruth, Zach Ballard, Logan Johnston, Abby Ballard, Paul Long and adult leaders Tammie Ruth and Kelly Johnston.

Community service is an important part of 4-H, said Brenda Allen, a 4-H youth development specialist with Iowa State University Extension. Youth need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose. By exploring 4-H community service and citizenship activities, youth can connect to their communities and learn to give back to others.

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