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Sevier County 4-H Hooked on Helping Hunger project benefits local food ministries

Local Food Ministries Catch Donation from Sevier County 4-H Tuna Drive

Sevier County 4-H Members recently presented donations from their 13th Annual 4-H Hooked on Helping Hunger project to local food ministries.

The boats are docked. The nets are drawn. 2014 has been another outstanding fishing trip for Sevier County 4-H Members. For the past 13 years, Sevier County 4-H members have set sail on a Fall Fishing excursion that benefits the Sevier County Food Ministries in Sevierville and CROSS Food Ministries in Seymour. This year’s totals netted a donation of over 2,750 cans of tuna and $1,016.00 for these local food ministries. Beginning in 2012, 4-H decided to send the Seymour 4-H Clubs donations to CROSS Food Ministries to meet needs in the Seymour Community.

This annual service project known as, “4-H Hooked on Helping Hunger” began in 2001 as an opportunity for 4-H members to learn about local needs and then take action. It’s held each year in conjunction with the countywide 4-H Officer Training Workshop.

“In 2001 we approached the Sevier County Food Ministries Director at that time, Steve Streibig, inquiring about specific items of need, and he suggested cans of tuna,” said Glenn K Turner, Sevier County 4-H Agent. It is a somewhat specialty item that can be expensive for the ministry to purchase, yet is a good protein source. Those served by the food ministry see tuna as a special treat.

The goal each year is one can per 4-H member with the slogan “One Can, Can Make a Difference.” With over 3,500 4-H members, one can does make a difference. Each year that goal is surpassed.

“When the project began in 2001, 50 cents would easily buy a can of tuna. Of course, now it is up closer to one dollar. When promoting the project we encourage 4-H’ers to consider giving up a soft drink or snack and put that money toward a few cans of tuna,” Turner said.

This approach seems to have worked over the years. Since the project began in 2001, 4-H members have donated 45,000 cans of tuna and over $18,500 to the Sevier County Food Ministries. “That’s one Big Fish” Turner added.

Sevier County 4-H Hooked on Helping Hunger

Jim Davis, director of the Sevier County Food Ministries says, “Sevier County 4-H has become a faithful partner to the food ministry. When 4-H began the tuna project thirteen years ago, we were serving about 800 families each week. Today that number has grown to 1600 per week. It is nice to know we can count on this donation each fall. It enables us to plan for our weekly food distribution. We are thankful for the $1,016.00 donation as well, as that will allow us to purchase food at 20 cents a can from Second Harvest.”

4-H members have learned to put into practice the 4-H pledge by using their “Hands for larger service.” They are learning that they can make a difference in the community. If you are not aware of the great things going on at the Sevier County Food Ministries, 4-H members invite you to visit Mr. Davis, or contact him at 428-5182, and see how you can get involved.

Sevier County Food Ministries is located at 890 Old Knoxville Hwy., Sevierville, Tenn. 37862.

CROSS Food Ministries is located at 406 Boyds Creek Hwy, Seymour, Tenn. 37865.

Sevier County 4-H Programs are administered by UT Extension Sevier County.

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About UT Extension - Sevier County

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. It is a statewide educational organization, funded by federal, state and local governments, that brings research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and resource development to the people of Tennessee where they live and work. Sevier News Messenger distributes UT Extension news as a courtesy. UT Extension – Sevier County can be found at