The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. For every 100,000 Ohioans, there are 38 deaths due to drug overdose. In Ross County, that number is nearly twice the state average at 61.
The Ross County Farm Bureau teamed up with local chapters of Drug Free Clubs of America’s M.A.D.E. (My Attitude Determines Everything), a nationally recognized drug prevention and education program for youth, to address the issue.
Each year the county Farm Bureau supports Ross County M.A.D.E. students by hosting a M.A.D.E. on the Farm fundraiser event. The inaugural event, held in 2018, raised $10,000. A year later, $12,000 was raised, and the event earned a prestigious award from the American Farm Bureau Federation. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Ross County Farm Bureau was unable to hold M.A.D.E. on the Farm in 2020.
“When we were faced with the difficult decision to cancel our MADE on the Farm dinner this year, it was important to me and the rest of the board of trustees to do something to still contribute to this program,” said Kaitlyn Meeker, Ross County Farm Bureau president. “This year, county Farm Bureau members showed their support by sponsoring M.A.D.E. students and those donations were matched dollar for dollar by our organization.”
Working together, the Ross County Farm Bureau and members raised and donated a record $12,582 in 2021. The donation will allow 188 students to participate in Drug Free Clubs at no cost.
“I’m overjoyed by the response from the community and want to thank everyone in their effort to beat the drug epidemic,” Meeker commented. “From the beginning I have felt we, as the community, need to do whatever we can to help these kids that are voluntarily agreeing to stay drug free, and events like M.A.D.E on the Farm is making that possible.”
Over 1,800 Ross County teens volunteered to participate in M.A.D.E. during the 19-20 school year. 2,164 drugs tests were administered; 99.6% of students passed tests, fulfilling their pledge to stay drug free. Testing students multiple times a year comes at a cost, so the event’s long-term goal is to raise enough money so the program can be free to any student in Ross County wanting to participate.
Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities. Learn more at ofbf.org.