Becca Deming, incoming senior at Fairview High School, created a program called “Lettuce Eat,” which provided free meals to anyone who got in line at Sharbono Park two days a week. Deming fed children as young as 2 to teenagers to parents with her program. The project served a three-fold purpose: her senior project for school, FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience and her 4-H independent study. At the Richland County Fair this year, Deming earned Best of Fair for the independent studies category. At the FFA Convention this year, Deming hopes to earn some scholarships for her work.
“I loved doing it,” Deming said. “I made friends with every age range of kids. I got to know people in the community I wouldn’t have known otherwise”
In Deming’s project binder, she documents the story of how she started the program to ease food insecurity in her community, her proposal, the permit to serve food in the park, the health inspection certification of the church kitchen she used to prep, all the flyers she passed out, a list of donors/sponsors, list of meals served and how many, and a complete list of volunteers.
Deming hopes her experience and the Lettuce Eat program doesn’t end this summer. While she wants to help next summer as well, she hopes to be able to pass it on to another FFA student, who can take it on as their own Supervised Agricultural Experience.
She credits her mom, Kelly, with helping her along this summer.
“My mom is a very hands-on person, she likes to get involved,” Deming said. “She tried to let me figure it out on my own, but helped me plan meals and if I couldn’t find volunteers.”
Deming said she was thankful for all those who donated their time and money and said none of it was possible without their help. She even had special visitors from the Dream Project of New Jersey, a group of college students biking from New Jersey to Oregon empowering young people to be leaders in their communities. They made a stop in Fairview to help Deming serve a meal.
“I want it to stay in the community and keep going,” Deming said. “There were definitely times where I was at home crying, not knowing if I’d have enough volunteers or what meal to serve. It was stressful, but super fun.”