U of I Extension 4-H club to package its 1 millionth meal on April 4th

By Benjamin Cox on March 29, 2018 at 3:13pm

April 4th will be an historic day for an area 4-H program.

The University of Illinois Extension 4-H club will host the Illini Feeding and Growing Our Communities event. It will be highlighted by the 4-H program packaging its 1 millionth meal. The event will take place at the Morgan County Fairgrounds 4-H Building, located at 110 North Westgate.

University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist Bill Million says they launched the original program about four years ago.

“These package meals will be distributed locally to food pantries and other places that serve families in need in the five county area which covers the unit 15 of the University of Illinois extension.” Million said.

The 4-H club packages a shelf stable meal that is made up of four ingredients. It includes, white rice, textured vegetable protein made from soy beans, dehydrated vegetables and a vitamin mineral mix. The stove top mix is good for anyone.

It’s packaged by children between 8-18 years old and they all come from the surrounding Jacksonville area.

Million says during the event on April 4th, 4-H will package 12,000 meals. He explains the history with the original initiative that started four years ago.

“I accepted the challenge four years ago with a request from our national 4-H council, with the original funding from the Howard Buffet foundation to engage 4-Hers ere in Illinois. Illinois was one of the five pilot states, at that time the program was call ‘Invest an acre’. Since that time we have evolved to our 4-H feeding and growing our communities 4here in Illinois. We have been very successful engaging 4-H members, 4-H clubs, community residents to responding to hunger and food insecurity here in Illinois while utilizing many different delivery methods.” said Million.

Million talks about what it means to him as he see the program grow.

“It’s exciting to know that we can challenge our 4-H members to address a need and they step up and accept that challenge. We are trying to instill in the lives of the young people that they should never underestimate the ability to respond to local needs. It is amazing what they can accomplish if they set their minds to it.” said Million.

The packaging event will be April 6th starting at 5pm. For more information call 217-243-7424.