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Local 4-H Members Collect Donations for Eastpoint Wildfire Relief

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Local 4-H youth and volunteers have been working around the clock to collect and distribute much needed supplies to those affected by the Eastpoint Wildfire, which destroyed dozens of homes in Franklin County, Florida.

“This effort really exemplifies the idea of lending our hands to greater service. 4-H children have experienced the power of an organized team effort, practiced generosity and turned empathy into concrete action to help better their community,” said Rachel Pienta, 4-H agent in Wakulla County.

4-H is the youth development program of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. One of the four pillars of 4-H is community service.

Twenty youth from Wakulla County have been involved in collecting supplies and donations, Pienta said.

“We have already raised $200 in cash donations so far, and we will be accepting donations at our 4-H Fourth of July booth in Sopchoppy. We plan to present our raised funds to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Relief fund in mid-July. UF/IFAS Extension Gadsden County’s 4-H program has started collecting relief items as well,” Pienta said.

Relief items collected so far include:

  • More than 1000 pounds of animal feed for livestock, dogs and cats
  • Thirty cases of water and Gatorade
  • Thirty boxes of new and like-new clothes
  • Twenty boxes of bedding
  • Twenty boxes of assorted non-perishable food
  • Ten boxes of personal hygiene products
  • Five boxes of toilet paper and paper towels
  • Cleaning and first aid supplies
  • Assorted baby items, such as cribs and strollers
  • Assorted household items, such as furniture and mattresses.

“We have been assisted by volunteers from the community who have helped us staff our donation center at the UF/IFAS Extension Wakulla County office from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. since the fire occurred,” Pienta said. “These volunteers, working alongside 4-H children, have also sorted, labeled and boxed donations.”

Volunteers have already begun delivering items to Eastpoint communities to be distributed by local aid organizations, including the Red Cross, Goodwill, Franklin County Animal Rescue, Franklin’s Promise Coalition and local churches.

“Our 4-H members have been amazed by the positive community response,” Pienta said. “The generosity of the local community has made a very big impression on them.”

To learn how to make a donation or drop off supplies, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Wakulla County office at (850) 926-3931 or wakulla@ifas.ufl.edu.

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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

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