FFA members deliver Book Pillows of Hope during National FFA Week

It’s National FFA Week and members across the nation are celebrating and serving in their local communities.

Members from the Tri High FFA Chapter in Straughn, Indiana, presented Book Pillows of Hope to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana today in Indianapolis.

This is an extension of the on-site service project that took place at the National FFA Convention in October when members put together travel book pillows for children in difficult situations.  

Braden Reamer, a senior from Tri Junior Senior High School, delievered the Book Pillows of Hope along with Aaron Houchins, Alexis Stockton, and Jeneka Lancaster.

Reamer says service is an important part of the FFA organization.   

“FFA is a great organization. We do a lot of community service both for our local communities and individual chapters and beyond,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to our communities.  I love giving back to the communities because it fosters everything. The FFA needs the community’s support to grow and help other people.”

Audio: Braden Reamer

Karen Doe, the Ronald McDonald location’s director of operations, says families will be able to pick up the travel book pillows donated by the National FFA Organization.

“We really look forward to getting the Book Pillows of Hope every month. Families can come in and grab a pillow for either their child that’s being treated or if they have a sibling staying with them as well. It’s something really comforting. They can use the pillow or take the book out and read it as a family. It’s something that takes their minds off the stress while they’re staying with us and we just really appreciate the donation that we get from the National FFA organization.”  

Doe says the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana serve families that have ill or injured children being treated at Riley Hospital and other local hospitals. She says the nonprofit provides a place to stay, meals, and comfort during a stressful time for families.   

Audio: Karen Doe

Kathy Buck started Book Pillows of Hope in 2020.

“I had just retired from teaching special education, and I made six pillows with pockets for books for my grandchildren. The COVID-19 pandemic hit, and I wanted to get (the pillows) out into the community. We started from there. We now have 76 as part of our group and are donating about 250 pillows a month in the Indianapolis area,” she says.

She says it has been incredible to partner with FFA.

“We were thrilled. It was an absolute incredible experience. In the three days of the National FFA Convention, 1,100 of these book pillows were made and they are now part of each one of our deliveries,” she says. “We donate 50 every month to the Ronald McDonald House and an additional 10 go over to the family tower for the NICU babies. This month, FFA students came over and helped us deliver those by carrying them in and getting them ready to be given to families.”

Buck describes the Book Pillows of Hope.

“They are 14-inch pillows covered in children’s fabric. An age-appropriate book is inserted in a pocket on the front and there is a handle for the children to carry it with,” she says. “We’ve found there is such a need right now in the community. There is so much going on in a child’s life and we want to promote literacy and provide comfort to a child in need.”

Audio: Kathy Buck

National FFA Week concludes Feb. 25.

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