VERSAILLES — Farm Credit Mid-America and Rural 1st has announced the fourth annual Fight Hunger, Stock the Trailer event. Presented by Farm Credit Mid-America and sponsored by its consumer lending division, Rural 1st, the initiative brings together junior fairs statewide in a friendly competition to raise donations for their local food banks.

With more than a million individuals across Ohio facing food insecurity, Fight Hunger, Stock the Trailer helps inspire and incentivize local youth to address the hunger gap. Since its inception in 2021, the event has gained significant momentum, symbolizing the power of local communities coming together to tackle a pressing issue.

In 2023, there was overwhelming participation, with 64 county fairs competing and supporting 68 food banks across Ohio. Together, these efforts resulted in a remarkable donation of 228,000 pounds of food, a nearly 35 percent increase from 2022.

“It’s always inspiring to see young, local residents develop innovative solutions to drive food donations for their community,” Melanie Strait-Bok, Farm Credit Mid-America’s senior vice president of agricultural lending in Ohio, said. “This initiative underscores our unwavering commitment to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture. We’re grateful for the continued support and look forward to another successful year of making a meaningful impact.”

All participating junior fairs receive a $500 prize. At the end of the fair, the total weight of all donations will be calculated. First, second and third-place winners will receive additional prize money. In past years, junior fairs used the prizes to attend statewide conferences, invest in new technologies and, in some cases, donate more non-perishable items to the food banks.

Since 2021, the Fight Hunger, Stock the Trailer event in Ohio and Indiana has resulted in more than 500,000 pounds of food donated to food banks, equating to nearly 463,000 meals for individuals and families in need. This milestone underscores the difference communities can make when united under a common purpose.

Fight Hunger, Stock the Trailer is hosted regionally.