District News General iFEED 11.5.16
iFEED 11.5.16

What do you get when you mix energetic high school students with passionate Rotarians? You get new Interact clubs that burst on the scene of multiple high schools while helping to breathe new life into service for dozens of Rotarians. And that’s a powerful thing.

In the Spring of 2015, with the guidance of the Holmen Rotary and Interact Clubs, four La Crosse Area high schools (Central, Logan, Aquinas and West Salem) chartered their own Interact clubs. Soon after, the idea to collaborate on a community service project was formed. The initial idea was to create a day to help feed the hungry children in Nicaragua. This idea grew and morphed into an event that used teamwork and collaboration to unite a community into Service Above Self. The event was called iFeed and in six short months it became a movement to alleviate hunger both locally and globally.

That day, the objective was to pack 50,000 dried meals that would be sent via a Rotarian connection to hungry children in Nicaragua. This would be accomplished through 24 teams of 12 volunteers packing for 3 to 4 hours. But then ideas started to flow and the project grew. What if everyone who came to pack also brought non-perishable food items that would then be donated to our local food pantries? But why stop there…What if each of the schools that had participating Interact Clubs held food drives? And then the news got out…And other clubs, schools, groups and organizations asked to some how be involved. That is where the project exploded! 

The results were nothing short of amazing. More than 275 volunteers packed over 54,000 meals. For six hours, additional volunteers worked a drive up/drop off site in the front of Logan High School. This resulted in over 13 tons of food being collected, sorted and donated to the Hunger Task Force, the La Crosse area food pantry clearing house. Every gaylord container that the Hunger Task Force owns for food collection was filled. The giant food donation helped to feed local families in need during the needy holiday months.

After iFeed wrapped up, the Interact Clubs and their advisors worked with Elevate, a local video production company, to create a 3-minute video honoring the day. The video was entered into the International Interact Video Competition. In mid-January, Interact was notified that from 87 submissions from 25 different countries, the iFeed video had taken First Place.  

Winning the video award created a platform for Interact students to present at many venues to share iFeed’s results. These venues included presentations at Rotary International headquarters and at 6250 District Conference and more.

Most importantly, the hands-on service opportunity and the ownership that all the Interact students took during the planning and execution of iFeed has had a lasting impact on how these students view their role as servant leaders in their community. Many will most certainly continue on from Interact into Rotaract Clubs and then become our next generation of Rotarians. 

Now, the same five Interact clubs, joined by two newly chartered clubs (in Caledonia and Onalaska) are gearing up to do it all over again, and we are looking for your club to be involved as well. We want to make iFeed a day to help alleviate hunger throughout District 6250 and beyond. Being involved can be easy and it’s a great way to get Rotarians working with students who will be our Rotarians of tomorrow. 
If your Rotary Club’s community doesn’t have an Interact Club in your high school, this is a great way to get one started. The fight against hunger is something that students can relate to and sponsoring a food drive is a fun and easy event that can be customized to your own community. 

The guidelines are simple: 1. Plan a food drive that will have all collections gathered by Friday, November 4 so you can report your collection numbers to iFeed by Saturday, November 5. We ask that you register with us so we know we will be including your club(s) and community in our count. Be creative and have some fun with it! 2. Involve others in your drive—schools, places of worship, other service groups, sports teams—the possibilities are endless. 3. Use iFeed in your marketing efforts in someway and when ever possible use the iFeed logo. Marketing materials will be available for download upon registration. 4. Report your collection numbers to us. If you want, make a short 30 sec. video to share, take a photo of your collection and your team(s) or just report your numbers. 5. Contribute your collection to a food pantry of your choice in your own community. 

If you haven’t seen the award-winning Interact video yet, it easy to do so. Simply Click Here   Show the video at your Rotary Club meeting or when you visit schools, etc. 

For more information, more ideas and to register, please email Stephanie Fraase at stephdesigns@centurytel.net or call Stephanie at 608-780-7220 (please leave a voicemail if you don’t get an answer). 

Let’s all help make November 5, 2016 a day to fight hunger in District 6250. Thank you!

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