Members of the Mahoning Valley 4-H Community Club brought heavy loads to their June meeting: bags stuffed with gently-used clothing, all to be donated to "Second Blessings" at Bethany Evangelical Congregational Church in Lehighton.
The club's goal was to gather 100 pieces of clothing to donate in honor of the 100th anniversary of 4-H. Judging by the stacks of jeans, T-shirts and sweaters, they likely exceeded their goal. Approximately 30 members attended the meeting.
This is the third month that the group has aimed to collect 100 items for a community group in need. In April, the club gathered 106 cans of nonperishable food items for the Trinity Pantry in Lehighton. In May, they gathered 97 cans of pet food for Carbon County Friends of Animals.
"We wanted to celebrate (the anniversary) and help our community at the same time. That's what 4-H is all about," said Elyse Kistler, vice president of the club. "It was a good project for summer, when kids are cleaning out their closets before they buy new school clothes."
Mahoning Valley 4-H Community Club is an active part of the Carbon County community, meeting each spring and summer to learn new skills, hone their leadership abilities, and make new friends. Before beginning the canned goods and clothing drive, the club contacted different nonprofit organizations in the area to see if there was a need for these items.
Members then voted on what items to collect each month.
"The whole idea of 4-H is to help our community and work as a team. It's so much more than just the projects that we do," said Jackie Malloy, club secretary, noting that club members will also showcase their annual 4-H projects at the upcoming Carbon County Fair.
"Our projects are just a small part," Malloy added.
Club members also took time after the meeting to paint 100 flower pots. These pots will be filled with flowers and donated to area residents.
Each "H" in 4-H has a special meaning: head, heart, hands and health. Members in 4-H pledge to serve their club, community and country through the 4-H pledge. 4-H membership is open to all youth, ages 8 to 19.