The Brown County 4-H donated 41 boxes of food to the Family Services Center on Thursday afternoon, its largest-ever contribution in what has become an annual effort for the group.

    Over 45 4-H members and adult leaders gathered at the Brown County Office of the Texas AgriLife Extension early Thursday afternoon to wrap cardboard boxes and fill them with donated food. All ten Brown County 4-H clubs donated to the drive, and each box included corn, corn bread mix, instant potatoes, brownie mix, green beans, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy and a frozen turkey.

    The Texas Farm Bureau donated the 41 turkeys to the effort.

    Nick Gonzales is the 4-H coordinator at the Brown County Office. He said it was important for students to learn the value of service. “Our goal is to help give back to the community,” Gonzales said. “Not everybody has the same opportunities as us, so we kind of reach out to them.”

    High school senior and 4-H member Sierra Gordon said 4-H was very involved. “We do a lot of community service projects,” she said. “This is just giving a Christmas dinner to families who may not have the opportunity to have a Christmas dinner.”

    Brookesmith senior Jessie Harris agreed. “We have so many blessings and so many opportunities, so I think it’s important to give back to others,” Gordon said. “In 4-H, the community does so much for us for our various projects that we do … so it’s a great opportunity for us to give back.”

    Once all the boxes were filled with food, the 4-H members loaded them up and drove down the road to the Family Services Center, where they piled the boxes on long tables inside. Family advocate Esmerelda Riojas and center director Doak Givan took a moment to thank the club members before they posed for a group photograph with the boxes.

    Riojas said the Family Services Center helped direct the boxes to needy Brown County families, who picked them up later on Thursday. “We have families that we know, or families that we’ve served through the years, where we know there’s a need in that household,” Riojas said. “The boxes go out to families that we serve during the year.

    “We have families who probably wouldn’t have a Christmas turkey if it wasn’t for what the 4-H is doing,” she said.

    The Brown County 4-H is a program for youth from third to 12th grade to develop leadership, practical and social skills. There are over 250 Brown County students in 4-H.