WINNEBAGO – Pecatonica High School FFA and Rock River Valley Pantry will now be able to better serve the community thanks to the support of local farmer, Nicole Carlson, and America’s Farmers Grow Communities.
Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, Grow Communities provides farmers in eligible counties the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local nonprofit organization of their choice. To further support counties declared natural disaster areas by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) due to the drought this year, winning farmers in these counties are able to direct double donations, a total of $5,000.
Winnebago County was declared a disaster area by the USDA, giving Carlson the opportunity to choose two organizations to receive $2,500 donations. Carlson selected Pecatonica High School FFA and Rock River Valley Pantry. Pecatonica High School FFA will use the money to complete the FFA outdoor classroom/shelter that was initiated in spring of 2012. The shelter serves as an educational and recreational tool for the school district. The money will specifically go toward the construction of picnic tables, a patio, retaining walls and other landscaping items.
Rock River Valley Pantry will use the $2,500 to purchase canned vegetables that will be placed in food boxes for families needing the services. The food pantry is currently assisting more than 6,500 individuals per month and 40 percent are children. More than 1,000 cans of vegetables are distributed every month.
“I directed the donation to the FFA because America’s Farmers Grow Communities is agriculture-based, so I wanted to put the donation toward an ag-related program,” Carlson said. “I directed the other donation to the food pantry because the unemployment rate in Rockford is high and there are a lot of people that need food.”
This year, the Monsanto Fund will invest nearly $6 million in rural America through Grow Communities, which includes double donations for counties impacted by the historic drought.
In Illinois, $480,000 is being given across 96 counties.
America’s Farmers Grow Communities is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to partner with farmers in helping them positively impact their communities. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to strengthen rural America.
For a complete list of Grow Communities winners and more program information, please visit growcommunities.com.