The United Way of the Mark Twain Area is excited to launch Aly’s Project: Youth Feeding the Needy

The United Way of the Mark Twain Area is excited to launch Aly’s Project: Youth Feeding the Needy.

Officials with the organization were inspired to launch Aly’s Project after hearing a story last fall. Aly Francis, a senior at Paris High School in Paris, Mo., lives on a farm and like many farm kids, she spends her summer showing livestock at local fairs.

She was on her way to show her sheep and hogs at the Missouri State Fair last fall when she overheard an older woman at the gas station say she had a small amount of chicken to eat for the week because she could not afford anything else.

Aly was stunned to learn that a senior citizen in her community faced food insecurity. This was her first exposure to seeing hunger in her area. She talked to her father about finding a way to combat food insecurity in their community.

After the State Fair, Aly donated one of her show pigs to the Paris Senior Center, an agency of the United Way, to ensure elderly individuals in her community have food. This gift provided about 120 pounds of meat to local underprivileged seniors.

Each summer in the five counties the United Way serves in Northeast Missouri: Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Ralls, and Shelby counties, 4H and FFA youth raise hundreds of livestock projects that are ready for butchering. The launching of Aly’s Project will allow youth to fight hunger in the community through this initiative.

Through Aly’s Project, a 4H or FFA member can donate their livestock project at the conclusion of fair season. Their project will be butchered and donated to a local food pantry or senior center of their choice.

United Way was fortunate to receive dollars from the General Mills Foundation Hometown Grantmaking Program which will be utilized to pay for the processing of donated animals so there is no cost to the youth to participate in the program. Other funding is being sought for processing costs as well.

“We might not be able to solve every issue in our community,” said Denise Damron, United Way Executive Director, “but the answer to solving the issue of hunger is easy. Feed people.”

Youth interested in donating their livestock projects are invited to sign-up to participate on the United Way website at https://unitedwaymta.org/special-initiatives. Individuals interested in making a donation to United Way for Aly’s Project to help with the processing costs can send donations to PO Box 81 Hannibal, Mo. 63401. For other questions about the project please call 573-221-2761 or email denise@uwmta.us.