A 67-year-old Crothersville resident didn’t say much when three seventh-graders delivered food to his house Saturday morning.

Herbert Taylor stood outside and watched silently as Rebekah Cook, Aubree VanCoutren and Klarissa Wilburn carried a fruit basket, eggs, canned goods and other food items to his doorstep.

The girls handed him a card describing why they stopped by and then wished him a “happy holiday” before leaving for their next stop.

“I think he was shocked,” Klarissa said in the truck after leaving Taylor’s residence.

Story continues below gallery

He was just one of many people the girls surprised with food Saturday in the Crothersville area.

“It’s really fun, and I’m happy to

see the smiles on people’s faces,” Rebekah said.

The event was part of the Crothersville FFA chapter’s 26th annual Toy and Food Drive.

Using trailers followed by firetrucks, volunteers delivered toys to kids

who otherwise might not receive Christmas presents this year. They also took food to families, elderly, shut-ins and those who are sick or cannot work. Names of those who are in need of that extra boost are submitted to the organization anonymously.

On Saturday, the volunteers served 96 families and delivered 7.28 tons of food, which is up from a year ago.

Items included nonperishable foods, cereal, peanut butter, pasta, milk, potatoes, toiletry, paper towels, soap and shampoo. Each family also received a fruit basket and eggs provided by Rose Acre Farms.

The drive also collected new and slightly used toys for the families with children. Bicycles, dolls and sports gear were among toys handed out.

“It’s a community effort,”

Linda Begley said of the drive.

Begley is a Crothersville teacher and the FFA adviser who helps to oversee the program.

She said there are many people besides FFA members who make the drive a success, including churches, past FFA members, civic organizations, parents and businesses.

There’s also a lot of work that goes into separating and dividing the hundreds of items. It usually makes for a late night for the FFA members prior to delivery day.

Chapter members conduct several fundraising events to cover costs of the drive. About half comes from the annual Crothersville FFA Craft Show in November. Money is raised through a silent auction, concessions and booth spaces.

In addition, Crothersville Junior-Senior High School collected more than 800 canned goods, while the elementary school collected more than 1,100.

FFA member Aubree said being

a part of the delivery process was

not easy to see but worth helping others out.

“There’s some people in our

community who can’t afford it,” Aubree said. “One family didn’t even expect us to come.”

Klarissa said it was sad there were kids who might not have a Christmas without their help.

“One little girl, we brought her a bicycle, and she took it and sat on it and was like, ‘This is awesome. I don’t want to get off of it,’” she said.

Firefighters with the Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department always make an effort to help out. This year, they followed the trailers in their firetrucks and helped carry and deliver boxes.

Lt. Logan Isenhower said, “The way you make people feel and see their eyes light up when you walk up, it makes their day, and you give them a little piece of Christmas.”

He said the program is important for students to be involved in, too, because that way they can see there are people in need in the community.

“I think it really opens their eyes,” Isenhower said.

Begley said the event also

receives assistance from state

FFA officials.

They came down Saturday and offered a hand while also catching

a glimpse of what FFA is about.

“They get to see what a small-town community gets to do,” Begley said. “We’re not just sows, plows and cows. It’s about feeding the world. That’s what young farmers are going to be doing, and this is just our way of helping support that.”

Pull Quote

“It’s really fun, and I’m happy to see the smiles on people’s faces.”

Rebekah Cook, Crothersville FFA member on the annual toy and food distribution

Pull Quote

“They get to see what a small-town community gets to do. We’re not just sows, plows and cows. It’s about feeding the world. That’s what young farmers are going to be doing, and this is just our way of helping support that.”

Linda Begley, Crothersville FFA adviser