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Rugby FFA students help assemble 200K meals at winter conference

By Staff | Jan 10, 2020

Submitted photo Rugby High students were among FFA members from throughout North Dakota assembling 200,000 meal kits to feed the hungry in their state.

Rugby High School’s Future Farmers of America chapter participated in the North Dakota state FFA Winter Leadership Conference last weekend with more on their schedule than the usual competitions.

The Rugby chapter members joined together with other FFA chapters from schools across North Dakota to package 200,000 meals to hungry families throughout the state.

Rugby FFA member Rylie Suchor, who participated in the conference with more than 30 Rugby High school and eighth-grade students, said the event took place in a “really big conference room full of students.”

Suchor estimated hundreds of students were in the room.

“We were at tables,” Suchor said. “There were 11 students at each table.”

The Rugby FFA students at three tables were tasked with packing oats into individual servings as part of a whole meal, put together assembly-line style among all the groups of students.

“It feels really cool to know you made a difference in North Dakota,” Suchor said.

FFA members Lauren Voeller and Katelyn Duchscher, who also packed servings of oatmeal, said the well-organized project took most of the day.

“The eighth graders and freshmen did it in rotation and then at the end of a day, we went as a group to do a rotation and it took an hour and a half for all of us to do it,” Voeller noted.

Duchscher described the event as “humbling.”

“It feels like FFA is more than just yourself. I feel like in FFA, you get wrapped up in contests and doing well in contests but this was more than just me,” Duchscher said.

Voeller nodded in agreement. “I think it really shows that as a whole in FFA, we want to really help each other out, and I think it’s really cool that we were able to help out our state,” she said. “At a state level, we were able to all come together to help all these families in need. We do a lot of community stuff through our chapter but it was cool to do it at a state level and package all those meals for so many people.”

The students described the event as fun as well as rewarding.

“I think it was really great to see kids actually wanted to help out and felt good about helping out, and that’s why I really enjoyed it,” Duchscher said. “I wanted to help. I wanted to be there.”

Voeller said, “It didn’t feel like you were forced. You wanted to go in there and help. It was, one of our themes is living to serve. That was like a moment where you’re helping to serve people in the state that need it. It was a fun time.”

Duchscher noted, “As we were making packages, they were making announcements about how many bags we had packaged and how many boxes we had done. It was really fun to see that in, like 20 minutes, we had done thousands of meals.”

“And at the tables, once you had packaged a meal, you’d let out a yell. You would hear people yelling constantly. It was fun packing,” Voeller added, smiling.

When meal number 200,000 was announced, did the students hear a bigger yell?

“Oh, yes!” Duchscher and Voeller laughed.

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