Illinoisans Volunteer for Harvest for All Campaign

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Illinois farmers and agriculturalists volunteered nearly 80 hours weekly in 2011 to curb hunger.

The hours serve Harvest for All, an effort of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Feeding America. The national fund- and food-raising campaign began in 2003 to feed those in need. The Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee implements the program in Illinois.

“Harvest for All is one of those feel-good programs where everyone can get behind a good cause and help those who are less fortunate,” says Jennifer Smith, Young Leader manager for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Illinois’ young farmers and agriculturalists proved to be among the nation’s most generous, earning first place among states for funds and hours in 2011.

They volunteered 4,081 hours and distributed $401,761 to food pantries and banks. The donated food weighed in at 503,602 pounds.

County-level Young Leader committees organize activities to support local food pantries. The state committee also sponsors programs.

Some include penny wars, auctions and organized volunteer time at the Midwest Food Bank. Their “Drive Out Hunger Campaign,” which sells toy semis, generated $14,500 in 2011.

“Young Leaders have a huge heart,” Smith says. “They realize they are very fortunate, and they want to share that wealth with everybody else.”

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