MCC Ag Club supports students with Thanksgiving food baskets
For the fourth year, Montcalm Community College’s Ag Club put together 25 Thanksgiving baskets for underserved students in the area.
“It’s fun to give back,” said Ag club member Amanda Perkins, of Rockford. “It’s really fun putting them together knowing that they’re going to people that need them.”
David Johnston, of Lowell, said he’s done quite a few volunteering projects over the years through Boy Scouts, but this project is a little different.
“I love how we can grow something and give back to the community,” he said.
Ag Club President Olivia Caine, of Sparta, says it’s important to the club that the baskets are being distributed locally and not shipped off somewhere.
“I think it’s important to use locally grown things,” Caine said. “We show them that they can find things locally and don’t need to buy from big-box stores.”
Each basket includes a chicken, raised by the Montcalm Area Career Center FFA and bought by the club; two pounds of ground beef, which is from a steer purchased by MCC at this year’s Montcalm County Fair; potatoes donated by an Ag Club member’s grandfather; squash and onions, donated by Ag Club member Margaret Haight; a quart of chicken broth and recipes.
“I like the recipes,” Caine said. “We try to make it so they go along with what we put in the baskets.”
Biology Instructor Michelle Gibson, Ph.D., is one of the advisers of Ag Club and said the project brings together many aspects of service learning.
“It is a good project to link the students’ interests, growing food and helping the community,” Dr. Gibson said. “Most of the food in the baskets is grown or raised locally or something the club itself can raise. The students want to give back and this is a good way for them to do it. They often learn just how much organizing and logistics it takes to do a project that starts out seeming simple. However, they do a good job of splitting up the work - another good thing to learn!”
The Ag Club got help from the MCC Express Conductor program to identify students who would benefit from this holiday giving project. MCC Express supports student success by partnering students with a conductor to answer their questions and help them every step of the way while they are an MCC student. The conductors distributed the baskets to those in need.
Caine talked about what she likes most about being a member of Ag Club.
“I like that we’re really active and do a lot of activities,” she said. “We try to be really visible at events. I like that we actually do stuff.”
Brian Gardner, Michigan State University (MSU) Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT) program coordinator for MCC, and Dan Rossman, Agriculture instructor, are co-advisors for the club.
“Doing the food basket project is an opportunity for students to gather locally produced meat and produce and distribute that to students in need,” Gardner said. “It is an excellent opportunity for our students to be able to give back from the incredible harvest bounty mid-Michigan agriculture produces to their fellow students in need.”
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