New London-Spicer FFA supports local businesses by buying gift cards with plant sale funds

New London-Spicer FFA uses plant sale funds to purchase gift cards to local businesses to encourage sales and thank longtime supporters.

Haley VanNurden (left) and Abbi Moline (right) talk about how New London-Spicer FFA uses plant sale funds to purchase gift cards to local businesses. Lydia Morrell / West Central Tribune

NEW LONDON — With the FFA state high school convention canceled for health safety this year, the New London-Spicer FFA decided to put its plant sale funds toward a different cause.

Normally, they would use the funds, totaling $2,500, to pay for hotel rooms and other expenses at the convention.

This year, “I had a cool idea,” said Abbi Moline, a 2019 graduate of New London-Spicer High School and a former FFA officer. “We could try to give back to the businesses.”

Moline, seven current FFA officers including Haley VanNurden, and FFA instructors Tracy Tebben and Jeff Gabrielson reached out to 55 local businesses in the New London and Spicer areas to offer to use their funds to purchase gift cards from the businesses. The businesses ranged from restaurants to gas stations and salons.

The gift cards are being distributed to people who have helped the FFA in prior years, such as “people who have helped judging teams prepare for contests and donated for banquet plaques,” Moline said.


Other people who are receiving cards are the “people who were at the school while the kids weren't, like the paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians, secretaries,” according to Tebben.

On a larger scale, they are hoping their act of service helps out the community and brings them together.

“We really wanted to stimulate the businesses in our community by buying a small gift card for someone who continues to go there afterward too, and this could get businesses going again,” Tebben said.

The businesses' reactions reinforced the act as positive and community-building.

“A lot of businesses actually donated extra so that was cool because even though they may be in a tight spot, they are wanting to help the community just as much,” said VanNurden, the current FFA president.

This level of support and generosity is reflected within the FFA’s core values as well.

“Part of the FFA motto is living to serve, and by going out and buying those gift cards and showing the community that you are there is showing that part of the motto,” Moline said.

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