Generous area farmers helped the Griggs-Barnes County North Titans football team raise more than $15,000 last month.
During harvest this year, 23 farmers from the Hannaford and Cooperstown areas donated enough grain to fill more than two semi-trailers, totaling more than 2,250 bushels.
The fundraiser was organized by athletic booster club member Kelly Hanson. As the parent of children who played football for the Titans, Hanson was musing with some friends last year about how to raise money for the team.
One of his buddies suggested going to farmers during harvest and asking for some of their crop. Hanson didnâ€™t think much about the idea then, but this year he began seriously considering it.
Hanson is an employee at Central Plains Ag Services in Hannaford. He asked the companyâ€™s general manager, Ben Jacob, what he thought of the idea. Jacob thought it was a great idea and gave Hanson a nudge to get started.
Once Hanson talked to a few farmers, who agreed to help out, he went into Public Relations mode, he said. In all, 23 farmers were recruited who donated anywhere from 20 to 200 bushels of corn to the football team.
Some of the farmers were parents of student athletes, some were alumni and others were just neighbors who wanted to help out.
With a truck from Central Plains, driven by Hanson, and a school bus driven by Jay Grover, the football team (along with a few extras) went from farm to farm on Oct. 6-7 and filled the truck twice, said Hanson. Later that week, the truck had to go back for another partial load that the team didnâ€™t have time for during the weekend.
While the kids couldnâ€™t help with the actual grain collection, they were on board for photo ops and to greet and thank farmers, Hanson said.
The resulting money raised was â€śunbelievable,â€ť said Hanson.
He was a little worried at first because the fall had been dry and he wasnâ€™t sure how crops would turn out. But an abundant crop meant good support for the fundraiser. Hanson isnâ€™t sure whether the club will be able to repeat the fundraiser next year, it depends on weather and crop quality.
The booster club will use the $15,857 raised to purchase equipment for the football team, as well as meals while the team is on the road, and scholarships for football camp. In addition, some of the money will go to the girls volleyball team, the basketball team, and even for the 4th to 6th-grade football teams.
Hanson, who has a Sophomore on the football team as well as a 4th grade football player, would like to thank the farmers who helped out the team Chip Stechler, who came up with the idea in the first place; Grover for driving the bus, Jacob and Central Plains Ag Services for donating use of the truck and marketing the grain; the kids who helped out; and Davy Zinke, the Griggs-Barnes County North Titans football coach.