It was the largest monetary donation in 18 years to the Rio Area Food Pantry, but John Atkinson (CWCAC Board Member & Rio Food Pantry Coordinator) said he hadn’t told anyone yet because he was still in shock. “The teacher said, ‘I’ve got you on speaker phone with the class and they’ve got something to tell you,” he said. “They said that they got $10,000 for the Rio Food Pantry, and John said, ‘What?’”
In May of 2013, six FFA students in the Rio High School Agriculture Leadership Class (Jenna Scott, Kacy Falk, Alana Kuhlman, Morgan Francis, Alex Harruff, & Kelly Falk) found out that their community service project netted them $10,000. Moreover, their tenacity placed them in the top five schools nationwide in the inaugural Lead2Feed World Hunger Leadership Challenge.
More than 300,000 middle and high school students in 1,500 schools participated in the nationwide challenge that encouraged students to hone their leadership skills through projects that focus on solving hunger. It was the first time the class undertook the project and the first year at Rio High School for adviser/agriculture teacher Paul Zuelke.
Lead2Feed is a joint effort between the Lift a Life Foundation and the USA Today Charitable Foundation with assistance from the Yum! Brands Foundation. The curriculum focuses on self-awareness, working with others, setting large goals and identifying a national or local hunger-related charity to assist.
In Rio, the students created three goals: A pie auction during a home basketball game with a goal to collect $200; A kiss the pig contest with a week-long food drive at the elementary, middle and high school levels; and a chance for the elementary school to collect more than the all-school food drive and host its own kiss the pig contest.
The auction raised $410 from the 13 pies donated by parents, with a rhubarb pie netting the highest bid at $50. The all school food drive brought in a total of 223 items and the elementary students met their goal of beating the middle/high school total and collected 374 items. A baby pig was indeed kissed by good-hearted adults as a reward for each successful food drive. In total, 697 food items and $410 was donated to the food pantry and hand delivered to Atkinson.
Although the Rio population is a little more than 1,000 it goes to show how generous and caring the people are commented one of the FFA students. Atkinson said the pantry doesn’t receive government food in July so the huge donation will keep them set for about a year. He was really thrilled because sometimes they wonder if they’ll have money to pay for things and then donations come in. About 10 years ago, they were afraid they would have to close their doors; they were running in the red, now they’re in the black.
It’s a great feeling that the Rio community keeps them going.
Central WI Community Action Council, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization located in Wisconsin Dells which provides a variety of services to help low-income individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency and independence within our service area of Adams, Columbia, Dodge, Juneau and Sauk Counties. Services include Temporary and Permanent Housing, Home Energy Efficiency, Training & Employment, Basic Food Needs, Employment Transportation, Utility Expenses Reduction, Crisis Assistance & Personal Counseling, and Property Management.
CWCAC, Inc. currently operates the food pantries in Adams County, Dodge County, Rio, and Wisconsin Dells/Lake Delton and is also responsible for procuring and distributing USDA Federal Surplus Commodities to a total of 14 food pantries in the central Wisconsin area. The Rio Food Pantry is located at 104 Lincoln Avenue in Rio; they are open three days a month on the second, third and fourth Mondays from 10:00 am to noon and also 5:00 to 6:00 pm on the fourth Monday.