800 Pounds of Food to the Second Harvest Bank

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800 Pounds of Food to the Second Harvest Bank

Chloe Dougherty, Staff Writer

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Over the summer, a group of students from East Ridge High School volunteered their time and energy to address a prevalent problem faced in their town and across the nation: the battle of hunger.

This battle is fought by 42,340 people, or 13% of Lake County Florida, according to a study conducted by Feeding America org. in 2016. Of this, over 13,000 are children in the area and are considered to be “food insecure.” Feeding America notes that food insecurity “refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.”

The group, led by East Ridge’s very own FFA sponsor and agricultural science teacher, Troy Badeaux, got down and dirty working in the school’s garden despite Florida’s intense heat. Their plan was to pick the excess produce left over in the school’s 25,000 square-foot garden and donate it to local food banks.
After picking a variety of foods, from eggplants to green beans, the students fulfilled their plan and exceeded their goal after collecting an overwhelming 800 pounds of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank in just two months.

The timing of the donations also corresponds to the county’s new institution of free breakfasts and lunches to all of their students for the 2018-2019 school year. The federal program, known as the Community Eligibility Provision, enabled the county to offer these free meals in the hope that no student would go hungry throughout the school day.

Residents of Lake County were delighted to hear news of this provision and should be as equally pleased to hear about the work Mr. Badeaux has encouraged these students to accomplish. Students that participated include members of FFA and agricultural science, as well as compassionate students, like Jake DeChick, who were happy to just offer a hand to the community. DeChick says he would “definitely contribute to a project like that again, because I learn valuable agricultural skills while helping those who are in need.”

East Ridge is most definitely a school involved in tremendous community-orientated activities and should be a model for other public high schools. The students and staff at the school have paved a way for a future in relieving hunger in the community with the use of a growing garden right in their backyard!