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Ledyard High School Agri-Science Program fights hunger in its community

Over the past few years, the Ledyard High School Agri-Science Program has been working to help fight hunger in the community.

This year, with the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic becoming increasingly apparent, the program moved to take on an additional task by donating to food pantries in each of the 12 towns that it serves.

The students raised poultry, collected and packaged eggs and grew tomato plants for the donations.

The initiative was a success, as the Agri-Science program was able to donate 10 tomato plants, 10 dozen eggs and seven frozen whole chickens to 12 food pantries (Ledyard, Lisbon, Groton, Montville, East Lyme, Old Lyme, Waterford, Norwich, Stonington, North Stonington, Preston and New London).

A total of 120 tomato plants, 120 dozen eggs and 77 whole chickens were donated.

The following businesses or organizations provided a sponsorship to fund the project and make it successful: Farm Credit, Nutrena, Flemings Feed Store and Ledyard Regional FFA Chapter.

“Our goal is to teach the students within our curriculum where our food comes from and how we can make a difference within our own community by helping to fight hunger,” explained Devon O’Keefe, the Ledyard Agri-Science Instructional Leader. “Our FFA motto is Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Serve. They used the knowledge from their classes to Learn to Do and learn how to grow or raise their food, then they participated in Doing to Learn by raising the animals and plants, they learned how they can Earn to Live if they were to sell the products they raised and then Living to Serve their community by donating to the food pantries,” continued O’Keefe.

Taylor DeFelice, an 11th grade LHS Agri-Science student from Ledyard, states: “I went to two different food pantries to deliver our donations. When we delivered the food they were very thankful and offered to give us a tour of their operation to see how they ran things. I noticed that in both of them they had a lot of canned goods but not a super lot of other items that you would need like toothpaste and toilet paper. When we asked them what they were most in need of they both said items like meat and milk.”

Leah Petersen, a ninth grader from Montville, explains: “I helped raise the meat birds by feeding and caring for them each morning before school started. I enjoyed learning how to raise meat birds and I hope to continue to assist raising meat birds, growing vegetables or donating eggs for our community.”

Cecilia Campbell, an 11th grader, summarizes the experience by saying: “It was really cool to be able to see where the food we put so much time and effort into went; and to know that it was going to be used to help people who are in need.”

The Agri-Science staff and students have finished dropping off their donations to local pantries for this academic year. The value of all the combined products donated was worth $4,800.

Aidan Schuler lives in Ledyard and is a member of the Times’ Young Journalists Initiative. To learn more, email times@theday.com.

 

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