April 26, 2021 at 6:46 p.m.
The Winona County 4-H Federation Officers, including five dairy farm kids, created a service project where they handed out goodie bags to volunteers and workers at vaccine clinics throughout the county.
“It’s a good idea because these people are helping the community, and we should give back to them for volunteering all these hours in helping the community,” Emily Prigge said.
Prigge is the 17-year-old daughter of Terry and Jana Prigge, who milk 260 cows near Winona. She is also the federation reporter and helped prepare the bags before delivering them. Katie Ketchum, federation president, also put the bags together and was part of the delivery team.
“I really liked the (service project) idea when it was brought up,” said Ketchum, the 17-year-old daughter of Mike and Mary Ketchum, who milk 100 cows near Altura. “I thought it was a great opportunity to give back a little bit to our community.”
The bags included cheese curds, beef sticks, fruit, granola bars and a bottle of water. It also included a tag with the line, “Thank you for helping our community achieve herd immunity.”
“The slogan on the bag I thought was really fun,” Ketchum said. “I think it was a great way to incorporate both the agricultural community and being thankful all into the same thing.”
The federation officers gathered two different times to pack the bags and get them ready for delivery. Many of the items were donated by local businesses.
“We’ve been looking to do some sort of service project, but it’s nice to be able to get together to do it,” said Kim Stehr, Winona County Extention Educator, 4-H Youth Development. “Last year we could do service projects, but they were very independently driven. We thought if we can do this as a group and have fun and feel good about doing things for others, we were all for it.”
Stehr said while there have been a few in-person gatherings since July 2020, most meetings have been through an online platform.
“It’s refreshing to be able to see people in person,” she said. “You feel a little reinvigorated. Even if we were only together an hour to put together the bags, it gets you out from sitting in front of a computer screen. This is why I feel good about it. The kids get to see their friends, have a little fun and do something good, which is good for everyone.”
During their gatherings, the officers took precautions.
“Our group size is small enough, we ask the screening questions, we always wear masks and wash our hands before we put the bags together,” Stehr said. “All our snacks are prepackaged too. We’re trying to be as safe as possible.”
The group was able to deliver over 120 bags to three vaccination clinics in the county.
Ketchum said it felt good to hand over the bags in person.
“I think the greatest part of this service project has been when we drop them off,” she said. “When (the bags) get dropped off, the people who are there volunteering look so happy and thankful that they are being appreciated, and I really like being a part of that.”
Plus, it gives people more exposure to the 4-H program.
“This is just another way we can spread the word about 4-H,” Prigge said. “People can see how generous and supportive we are and maybe have kids that would want to join.”
Both adult and youth leaders are glad to have had this service project to get them out and about again.
“These kids that are helping with this have had a less than stellar year,” Stehr said. “Some of them have barely been in school in person. So, for us to get together and do these was fun to see each other. And these volunteers at the vaccination clinics are helping us be able to gather again in large groups like we would ideally do in the coming months.”
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