4-H youth fight food insecurity in Michiana
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – 4-H youth are fighting food insecurity in Michiana.
A group called Meat Hunger and a local non-profit are working together at the St. Joseph County Fair to give back to those in need with the livestock they raise all year long.
The youth-led group’s mission is to fight hunger in St. Joseph County one protein based serving at a time.
Three teen 4-H members created Meat Hunger, a youth-led livestock auction buyer’s group, after hearing the statistic that 1 in 4 kids in St. Joseph county struggle with hunger every single day.
Meat Hunger buys the animals from the annual St. Joseph County Livestock Auction, at the end of the fair when kids have the opportunity to sell the livestock that they raised.
The meat that is bought is processed for free by Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.
Then, the food is donated Cultivate, a food- rescue organization out of South Bend.
Kylie McMillen is a youth mentor for Meat Hunger. She works to collect donations and spread the organization’s mission.
“I get to make an impact on the community, and you know just help those in need,” McMillen explained.
Jeff Spencer is the father of a Meat Hunger co-founder. He’s proud of the organization’s impact.
“The more money that we have, and then the more animals we can purchase means more meals for hungry families,” said Spencer.
The kids of 4-H who raise the livestock are also impacted by the auction.
Lucas Bradshaw is 10-years-old. He has been involved in 4-H for two years. He raises pigs among many other animals.
“We feed ‘em, water ‘em, groom ‘em and walk ‘em,” he explained. “It’s gonna be hard because I’ve put so much time in with them, it’s gonna be hard to see them go.”
Taylor Haseley has been involved with 4-H for several years. She’s 15-years-old.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s all worth it in the end,” Haseley said.
Sellers are paid above market price for their livestock projects; the profits fund 4-H programs that give youth real-life educational opportunities.
“I wanna be a vet and go to Purdue,” Haseley explained.
“Be a farmer,” Bradshaw replied when he was asked what he wanted to be when he grows up.
In its second year, Meat Hunger hopes to raise $10,000.
“It’s just been a huge impact knowing that everybody in the 4H community has come around the kids, and doing what’s necessary to help everybody in the community,” said Spencer.
4-H youth are also holding a food drive called Battle of the Barns. So far the kids have collected 1,500 pounds of food.
You can support Meat Hunger at the livestock auction on Friday . Registration begins at 9 a.m. with a cookout to follow. The auction begins at 12:30.
The St. Joseph County Fair is offering a $2 discount on admission if you bring two non-perishable food items to the gate.