Local 4-H drives benefit neighbors experiencing food insecurity

Counties across the state are tasked with gathering nonperishable food and care items as part of the annual, statewide 4-H Can Make a Difference Food Drive held in conjunction with the State Fair Aug. 11-13.

"In Illinois, over a million people face hunger, which translates into 1 in 12 people facing hunger or 1 in 9 children," said Katie Duitsman, University of Illinois 4-H youth development specialist.

This initiative began more than 25 years ago and represents the power of Illinois counties pulling together to create a larger change.

Counties will gather donations locally and coordinate to transport the food to the Illinois State Fair and participate in a friendly competition to see who can donate the most.

Local 4-H programs invite members and the public to donate non-perishable food items or cleaning and self-care products to the 4-H Can Make a Difference Drive, which is happening at county fairs and local Extension offices this summer.

All donations will travel to State Fair with local 4-H representatives as part of this statewide effort and contest for county 4-H programs.

Those with the most pounds of donations will receive funds to support community service efforts in their communities.

In the tri-county area, donations may be brought to the DuPage County Fair on July 28-30 in Wheaton, the Kendall County Fair on Aug. 3-6 in Yorkville, or the Kane County Extension Office in St. Charles by Aug. 7.

For questions, contact or call your local Extension office.

"This is a great way for youth to get involved on the local level and make a statewide change," says Duitsman. "Great things happen when we put youth at the lead of any project, so we know great things are ahead for this initiative."

This initiative is statewide youth led service initiative headed by the Illinois 4-H Youth Leadership Team.

Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver's seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.

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