Crothersville FFA seeks help with holiday charity

Crothersville FFA once again plans to provide toys and food to 96 families at Christmastime through its annual drive.

But the group has run into a problem — a couple of grants it was expecting to receive haven’t come through.

That leaves the group about $3,000 short of the budget it works with to buy food to distribute.

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“I assume if they haven’t come in yet that they won’t,” Crothersville FFA adviser Linda Begley said of the grants. “That is a big chunk of money to not have when it comes to feeding 96 families. If we do not receive grants or money, we would not be able to purchase the quantities of food that we would normally do.”

Begley is asking people to do what they can, either donating money, food or toys, to help make up for the shortfall. The deadline to receive donations is 3 p.m. Dec. 18, and they can be dropped off at the Crothersville Junior-Senior High School office during school hours.

“For us to maintain the level (of giving), the community has to support it, and it all goes to a good cause,” she said. “We just appreciate any donation.”

This is the 27th year of the toy and food drive. Chapter members conduct several fundraising events, including a craft show in November, to cover costs of the drive.

But when community donations started to decline in recent years, Begley had to start seeking grants.

“The money we received from the grants is used to purchase food for the families we deliver to,” she said. “We didn’t want to ask for the grants, but if we continue the level of giving, we had to seek outside assistance.”

The number of families and amount of food could increase because the group is still accepting names of people in the Vernon Township area to help.

“We start receiving calls at the beginning of December and get calls sometimes until just a few days before (delivery),” Begley said.

FFA members will sort and box items Dec. 18 and then deliver the food and toys starting at 9 a.m. the next day. They also make fruit baskets to deliver.

“Each family receives food sorted in boxes, and the number of food boxes depends on the number of members in the household,” Begley said. “They also receive a laundry basket with hygiene products.”

The Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department and other volunteers help the FFA members with delivery.

Last year, they delivered 7.28 tons of food, which was up from the previous year.

“With the exception of churches, we know of no other organization that donates this quantity of food to families this time of year,” Begley said. “Our members and volunteers get so much out of this event. The joy it brings to give to others is unsurpassed. And to do it at Christmastime is just an added bonus.”

At a glance

Donations of food, toys and money for the 27th annual Crothersville FFA Toy and Food Drive may be dropped off at the Crothersville Junior-Senior High School office, 109 N. Preston St., during school hours. The deadline is 3 p.m. Dec. 18.

The group is still accepting names of Vernon Township area residents who need assistance from the program. Call 812-793-2051 during school hours by Dec. 18.

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.