Dressed in official black shirts and khaki pants, members of OSU’s Collegiate FFA club were looking classy as they assisted at the Ag in the Classroom foundation’s benefit dinner and auction held Oct. 16 at the Linn County Fairgrounds. The Fall Harvest Dinner, as it has come to be known, is a major service project that OSU’s CFFA club proudly participates with annually. The program’s founder, Tami Kerr, said, “Collegiate FFA has been an outstanding partner for our program.”
CFFA Secretary and Junior in General Agriculture, Leslee Crawford, has attended the event for the past two years and thoroughly enjoys the experience. “The Ag in the Classroom Dinner is an incredible evening filled with great food and amazing people who are very willing to help the youth of today through this program,” she said.
In preparation for the event, several dedicated CFFA members showed up the afternoon of the Friday before to help set up the event hall with fall-themed decorations and Ag in the Classroom (AITC) paraphernalia. The tables, also set up the day before, were alternately adorned with warm colored floral centerpieces and submerged coral gladiolas. Free calendars displaying Ag-related art, drawn by Oregon students, as well as the program’s textbooks entitled Get Oregonized, were placed on the tables to highlight the influence that AITC has on Oregon schools.
Saturday began with a great representation of 27 Collegiate FFA members showing up to help with preparations prior to the event. Busy CFFAers filled water glasses, set up appetizer stations and sat ready at the door to check people in. Soon after nearly 300 guests arrived to socialize and take part in the silent auction. An amazing feast followed, with a menu of prime rib, turkey, ham, squash medley, green bean casserole, salad and many more delicious dishes. An address by Tami Kerr, brought everyone’s attention to the impact of Ag in the Classroom, which reached more than 106,000 students last year. She explained the many ways that AITC introduces basic concepts of agriculture into classroom settings. They strive to make connections that are easily recognizable by children from any background. For example, asking a question like, “Where does your food and clothing come from?” allows direct linkage between the children’s lives and agriculture. In closing for the night, there was an oral auction, during which several CFFA members carried items around to display to bidders.
In total, this year’s Fall Harvest Dinner raised more than $37,000 to benefit Ag in the Classroom. Of the dinner’s success, Kerr said, “Each year I am overwhelmed, and frankly humbled, by the generosity shown to our program. We couldn’t do it without all the people and businesses that support us.”