My year serving as a state officer has been full of surprises, amazing people, new experiences, and above anything else it has been full of blessings. One of those many blessings took place on Tuesday, November 18 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
For the past 4 years the Colts have partnered with Kids Against Hunger (now known as Thrive 360) for what they call “The Million Meals Marathon”. The name says it all, but starting at about 8 am 4,000 volunteers fill Lucas Oil Stadium over the course of the day to fill over 1 million bags of food to help feed children who are food insecure. The state officer team, as well as the volunteering Indiana FFA chapters, worked the first 3 hour shift of the day and achieved the feat of filling 252,000 bags of food. Pretty amazing, right?!
As amazing as those numbers are, they aren't what impacted me most throughout my day there. When we first arrived a couple of key sponsors of the event gave opening remarks that really stuck with me. The first one was from Founder and Board Chairman of Thrive 360, Dan Hintz, “Within three or five miles of anyone, there’s somebody in need who doesn't know sometimes where their next meal is coming from.” What Mr. Hintz said really hit me because it’s easy to forget that hunger doesn't just happen in 3rd world areas. It happens even in Indiana. It happens right down the road. Not only did it put hunger into a different perspective for me, but it also set the tone of our work day. Another thought provoking quote I gathered from the day came from the Indianapolis Colts Defensive Tackle #90 himself, Cory Redding. “You have to have a tremendous amount of energy, passion to do this. This is not centered around you this is centered around starving children around the state of Indiana.” I truly appreciated what he said for a couple different reasons. First of all, it was a great reminder as to why we were there for the day. Second of all, it was a great reminder as to what this year is all about for me. Taking what he said out of the context of hunger, this year is all about the members. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to serve as a state officer was so I could meet more members and learn their stories. I’ve learned that FFA members have some really amazing goals and aspirations for their lives!
Having said that, I worked with a couple different table groups throughout my 3 hours so I could talk to as many members as possible. Let me tell you what, I met some incredible people! One of the first questions I asked when I joined a table was if the members had any ideas about what they wanted to do when they got of high school. I heard some excellent answers such as how some wanted to be vets, or doctors, or ag teachers. I talked to a couple people who have a passion for traveling and they want to visit the world when they graduate. I talked to members with hearts the size of Texas who weren’t completely positive where they wanted to go, but they knew without a shadow of a doubt they wanted to be in career field where they could help others. What encouraging answers to hear from the next generation of agriculturalists! However, in the many answers I heard throughout the day there was one answer that stopped me in my tracks. I was busy sealing bags (my designated role) when I asked the boy standing next to me this exact question. He paused for a minute, and then looked at me.
“You know, I really don’t know what I want to do. I just know I want to make an impact. I hope I do something that leaves this world better than how I found it.”
Wow. All I could manage was a smile and a “That’s amazing to hear, I’m sure you’ll make that impact.”, but my mind was swirling. This was a sophomore whose main goal was to improve the world. Talk about inspiring.
It was perfect to be able to help with the Million Meals Marathon right before Thanksgiving especially since giving feels so much better than receiving. It also helped remind me of all the blessings in my life. I’m beyond blessed to have a loving family and always having a meal on the table, but I have so much more to be thankful for outside of that. I’m thankful for the opportunity I have to travel this year. I'm thankful to have gained 3 brothers and 3 sisters. I’m thankful to be able to speak about my passion for agriculture nonstop. I’m grateful to be able to meet people who want to change the world around them. Most of all I’m so incredibly grateful that I made the decision to join FFA 4 years ago. What I’m trying to say is thank you. Thank you to my family who has supported me every step of the way. Thank you to the advisors who dedicate their time and passion to agriculture as well as their students. Thank you to the members who have welcomed me in like an old friend. Thank you Indiana FFA for being the amazing organization that you are.
Happy Thanksgiving and Many Blessings,
Indiana FFA State Treasurer