FFA birds feed the H.E.L.P. House
By Dean Shipley
London High School FFA students proved to H.E.L.P. House that a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. To be more exact, 48 chickens in the hand. The chickens were donated June 30 to the H.E.L.P. House with Dee Heilman director, accepting.
The donation was timely, said Heilman.
“It came at the right time. Food has been scarce this summer. For Mid-Ohio Food Bank, our source, food has been scarce for them also, so it trickles down to us,” Heilman said.
The chickens are the result of a London High School FFA project in which FFA students raised “meat” chickens — as opposed to the egg-laying variety — as food to donate to the H.E.L.P. House. They were raised from chicks with students taking care of and feeding the Cornish cross and Plymouth cross chickens.
Snyder was able to fund the project through a grant from National FFA. She applied for a grant for start-up funds. She received $1,873 from the national headquarters to buy day-old chicks and then feed and house them.Chickens were fed and raised until they reached maturity. The adult birds were taken to a poultry processing specialist in Western Ohio. Processing cost was also covered by the grant. Dressed out the birds weighed between five and six pounds.
Snyder said the eight-week maturation time span fits very well within the course’s parameters. She said the students will raise another brood in the fall and those chickens will also be donated to H.E.L.P. House in time for Thanksgiving.
Though turkey is seen as the traditional holiday main course, it just takes too long for one to mature. Their size at maturity is also not suited for her classroom Snyder said.
“Chickens fit a lot better into what we do,” Snyder said.
Sponsors of the grant included the National FFA organization, Farmers Feeding the World and The Howard Buffet Foundation. Snyder said it was a one-time grant but she’s optimistic she can finds ways to continue the program.