GREENFIELD — Employees of the Hancock County Purdue Extension walked the 4-H Fair parade route Sunday to spread the news — those who donate 10 nonperishable items to a food drive this week will receive free Indiana State Fair tickets.
Hancock County 4-H Fair organizers are encouraging fair-goers to bring canned goods or dry goods to the 4-H Exhibit Hall at the fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple St., throughout this week, after which the donations will be transported to the Hancock County Food Pantry.
This is the second year donors have been rewarded with state fair tickets through an initiative by the state fair to encourage county fairs to host drives, said organizer Megan Addison, Purdue Extension health and human sciences educator.
The Purdue Extension also has teamed up this year with HATCH, a non-profit program started by Elanco and organized through the Central Indiana Community Foundation, to make it easy for fair-goers to help out, even if they left their canned goods at home, said coordinator Becky Fouard.
Through the HATCH program, donors can purchase eggs via their cellphones from Rose Acre Farm in Seymour at a discounted price; they are then distributed to food pantries in a five-state area, she said.
Those interested in donating eggs to food pantries through the program may stop by the exhibit hall to learn more.
They can also text HATCH to 52000, which will pledge a $5 donation that’s good for five dozen eggs, Fouard said.
“Our goal is to get food banks a much-needed item that doesn’t get donated often,” she said. “Eggs, milk and bread are the most-needed items at food pantries.”
Last year, fair-goers donated about 1,000 pounds of food during the drive, she said.
Though the fair is far from over, Addison has collected at least two barrels full of food items already, she said.
The Hancock County Food Pantry, which serves more than 500 families a month, is grateful for the help, said director Tom Ferguson. He said the pantry could use some extra peanut butter and jelly, since the PB&J sandwich is a staple for kids out of school for the summer.
“We appreciate the Purdue Extension office … supporting us in this effort,” Ferguson said.
“It supports us and those who have food insecurity in the community, and it’s a great collaboration.”
Fair-goers may drop off canned goods and non-perishable items for a food drive this week at the 4-H Exhibit Hall at the fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple Street, Greenfield. Donors receive one ticket to the Indiana State Fair for every 10 items donated.