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FFA hat, blanket fundraiser nets money for ND charity

By Staff | Nov 1, 2019

Submitted photo Rugby High School FFA officers are: Back row (left to right): Hayden Thingvold, Isaac Volk, Lylla Grice, Emma Mahle Front row: Tyra Lysne, Lauren Voeller, Callie Oppen, Meagen Harmel RHS FFA recently held a hat and blanket fundraiser, proceeds of which will go to Meals of Hope in January.

Some Rugby High School students received passes to break two school rules for a day last Friday, thanks to a fundraiser by their school FFA chapter.

RHS FFA co-adviser Kasey Okke told the Tribune two school rules involving two items students would like to wear or bring to class.

“The students can’t wear hats per school policy,” Okke explained. “Then last year, students wore blankets because they were cold but now the policy won’t let them wear blankets to school anymore.”

“What we decided to do was hold a hat and blanket day. Each student paid $2 and we gave them a sticker. That was their pass for a day to have a blanket with them in school and wear a hat all day in school.”

Both Okke and FFA student officer Emma Mahle described the fundraiser as “very popular.”

Mahle, who holds the office of sentinel for the club, said, “All of the proceeds will go to Meals of Hope in January. That’ll take place during the FFA Winter Leadership Conference where the students will help to package and send off meals.”

Mahle described Meals of Hope as “a charity that stays in North Dakota. With some charities, the proceeds go throughout the country or even to other countries, but this one’s going to stay here in North Dakota. So, it’s a good way for all of us to help out specifically people in North Dakota.”

“North Dakota FFA as a whole has challenged all the local chapters to raise money for this project,” Okke said. “At the state level, a little over 1,000 students come to this leadership conference in Bismarck in January, and we’ll put all these meals together.”

Okke said the meals would be in kits with items like pasta dinners and other ingredients for casserole and skillet dishes.

“Meals of Hope is an organization that travels around the state, and you have to raise a certain amount of money for a certain amount of meals you want to put together,” Okke noted.

At the FFA Winter Leadership Conference, Okke said, “They’ll have all the food, all the different packaging and they’ll form assembly lines, and they’ll put all these together. “

“This year, we’re raising money to put together 200,000 meals at that conference,” Okke added.

“It costs the state $50,000 to put this on. That’s about 22 cents a meal. North Dakota FFA challenged all the local chapters to raise money toward that $50,000, and that’s the purpose of what we’re doing here. All those meals will stay in North Dakota, through the Great Plains Food Bank,” Okke indicated.

Okke said RHS students raised $250 through their hat and blanket day and that amount would be matched with another $250 from the Rugby High FFA chapter.

“There will be $500 raised, a little over 2,000 meals,” Okke said.

“And,” Okke added, “We want to do another hat day, this time at the elementary school.”

“Our hope is that with the money raised there, our FFA Alumni chapter, which is like the booster club for the FFA, will match that amount,” Okke said.

“We’re hoping we can do the same and raise $1,000 total. We have to have the money in by December 1st.”

Okke said the Rugby FFA chapter welcomes donations from the community as well.

“I think the state sent out an email on Monday or Tuesday this week and there was still right around $20,000 yet to be raised for this,” Okke said. “If anybody is interested in donating, they can call me at the high school. They can comment on our Rugby FFA Facebook page or message us there.”

Rugby High School’s phone number is 776-5201.

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