Diocesan News

Students Provide Meals to 45 Low-Income Families



(Written by Nomar Guerra, fifth-grade student and president-elect of the    4-H ‘Clover Knights’ at St. Joseph School in Lincoln)

LINCOLN - The 4-H club of St. Joseph School in Lincoln, Joe’s Clover Knights, was selected as a recipient of the 2011 4-H Governor’s Award of $500 to use to help the community and promote the great things 4-H does to educate and help others.

As a group, we decided to plan out nutritious meals on a budget and give them to low income families and the homeless (enough to provide 45 families with one meal).

To get prepared to do this project, we learned about what a nutritious meal consists of. Some of the things we learned were what the food pyramid looks like, and which foods are in each section, how to use the food pyramid to plan a healthy meal, how to budget for a meal, and how to create a grocery shopping list. We made a huge plate on the wall and everyone drew their favorite foods and put them in the right categories on the plate.

One of our members, Grant Johnson said, "We learned a lot about how to prepare healthy meals."

At our next meeting, we selected two main entrees (and included the recipes) along with other food items that would make up a healthy meal. All of the items were labeled with how much they cost, so each small group had to write out a dinner plan that covered all the food group categories with a budget of $11 per bag. We filled 45 grocery bags that would be distributed to the families with the non-perishable food and attached tags with the 4-H pledge on them.

Club member Megan Neal said, "Not everyone knows that 4-H can be in the city, too." This was an important goal to show that 4-H is not just in the country, and to show how much one can learn from being involved in 4-H.

On Nov. 1, the club started at St. Joseph Church, filling the grocery bags with the additional fresh food items, such as vegetables and fruits that would be needed to complete the healthy meal. We then went as a group to the Matt Talbot Kitchen and St. Gianna Women’s Home to distribute the food.

Club member Luke Johnson said, "I loved seeing the kitchen at Catholic Social Services and learning about St. Gianna and how much those families needed our meal bags."

We learned just as much from distributing the meals as we did from putting them together. Through this project, we definitely used our head for clearer thinking, by planning ahead and figuring out how to budget a healthy meal, as well as thinking about others who are in need. Our hearts were feeling great loyalty to the 4-H organization and leaders for all they taught us. Our hands were used for larger service, packing bags of groceries and carrying them to those in need. And finally we learned that our health is our wealth, and how to feed our bodies so that we can be healthy and help others.

We are grateful for the opportunity to do this project for our club and our community.

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