FFA students serve Louisville through service projects - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

FFA students serve Louisville through service projects

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FFA members package meals for Kids Against Hunger - Louisville. FFA members package meals for Kids Against Hunger - Louisville.
Mahala Morgan Mahala Morgan
Tori Kaplan Tori Kaplan
Samuel Dandridge Samuel Dandridge
Dale Oelker Dale Oelker

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Rather than enjoying treats, this Halloween thousands of visiting FFA students instead performed a bit of a trick. They exponentially boosted productivity at several charities throughout Louisville.

"We are at the National Days of Service with FFA," said Tori Kaplan, CSX Assistant Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility.

With owner approval, more than 300 FFA students celebrated the occasion by setting up shop inside a vacant warehouse near Louisville International Airport where they helped sort through donated clothes.

"It is truly a day of partnership. We have CSX, National Safe Place, Dignity Wear, City Year, and ultimately FFA students coming together to pack clothing for children in need," said Kaplan. "At the end of the day we will have 70,000 pieces of clothing going to 130 teen crisis centers across the country."

"I just want to say thanks for donating your time to help those that were in need just like I was at one point in time," said Samuel Dandridge, 19, to the crowd of fellow teens.

Unlike the group, Dandridge was not a member of FFA, but rather a former teen shelter resident.

"Growing up I didn't have a perfect life," began Dandridge, "so I ended up in the streets. I heard about Safe Place and I went there."

Dandridge volunteered his time Thursday with two goals in mind: give back and educate others.

"I just feel like I should donate the time back to the community since they were able to donate it to me," said Dandridge. "I hope that I'm teaching them something."

Across town, FFA student productivity helped cranked out meal after meal at Kids Against Hunger - Louisville.

"We have 40 kids per shift and each shift will package 15,000 meals," said Dale Oelker, Kids Against Hunger - Louisville Executive Director. "Half of the meals packaged this week will be provided to Feeding America: Kentucky's Heartland to help families right here in Kentucky and the other half of the meals are being donated to Children's Lifeline which provides a nutritious meal to schools and orphanages in Haiti."

"It makes me feel so good," began Indiana FFA student volunteer Mahala Morgan, "especially that it's going to hungry children and their families."

While the FFA groups donated a substantial amount of their time to the local charities, organizers ensured the teens would not leave from the experience empty handed.

"They're learning teamwork skills," said Oelker. "They're having fun."

"They've contributed to something bigger than themselves while they're here at convention," said Kaplan.

It's estimated FFA students will complete 16,000 hours of community service by the time the 86th annual National FFA Convention and Expo concludes in Louisville Saturday.

To learn more about the FFA, click here.

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