A Big Thank You to Greener Fields 4-H and Dr. Augustine Kellis for Helping the Community in a Big Way

March 18, 2021

Pictured above is Mary (left) and Jayme (right) O’Neill displaying food collect for the food drive.

The Geauga Hunger Task Force (GHTF) wants to extend a big heartfelt thank you to Greener Fields 4-H Club and Dr. Augustine Kellis and family. This past year this dynamic duo once again made sure no resident of Geauga County goes hungry.

It started back in 2015 when Dan Takacs, who was co-chair of the 4-H Food Drive with Ben Obringer, reached out to Dr. Augustine Kellis for a donation for their fundraiser to help GHTF. Dr. Kellis, after researching GHTF, approached Mr. Takacs with an idea to start a food drive and open it up to al the 4-H clubs. Dr. Kellis said if they would do this, he would match whatever they raised. From that point on 4-H along with the Kellis family have been tackling hunger in Geauga!

This past year was a challenge for everyone. People were found themselves trying to tackle situations they never thought they would be faced with, some of which was “How am I going to feed my family?” Thanks to the determination of our local 4-H clubs and Dr. Kellis they were able to raise over $38,000.00 for GHTF. This money insures that people in our community will always be able to have food for themselves and their loved ones.

Since 2015 when Greener Fields 4-H club and the Kellis family teamed up, they have raised a total of $167,733.76 and they are just starting to kick off their 2021 food drive. Both the Greener Fields 4-H Club and the Kellis family show why Geauga county is such an amazing community. Their selfless acts have provided and continue to provide financial help to GHTF which then allows GHTF to provide food support to the community.

When Dan Takacs graduated and had to leave the club, the baton of leadership was passed on to Mary O’Neill. After Mary graduated, leadership passed on to her sister Jayme. Each of them has done a wonderful job.

Below are some quotes from those who have been instrumental in making this fundraiser happen.

“When we started our food drive in 2015, I was simply trying to find a way to keep my club active in service and support our community. I never imagined it would take off in the manner in which it did. The day I asked Dr. Augie for a donation to the Geauga Hunger Task Force turned out to be a pretty good turn of events. He challenged me to make this food drive bigger than it was, and I realized I could in turn challenge the greater 4-H community and all the communities it touches. I wanted to make it competitive and allow people to do their part for those in need. Six years later I am positively dumbfounded that we have raised upwards of $167,000. This truly inspires me, not only because of all the hungry people we were able to support, but also the true outpouring of community I witnessed firsthand. I want to continue to do my part to see this community effort continue for years to come.” – Dan Takacs

"My involvement in the food drive was more than just a green check on my resume. I was overwhelmed by the number of families in my backyard with food insecurity. Raising food for the members of my community was one of the many joys of my 4-H experience and shaped me into the humble genuine person I am today. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had passed onto me to better the lives of people in my own community.” – Mary O’Neill

"The reason I find such a passion for the food drive is because ever since I was a little girl I loved helping people in any way I could and this food drive has helped me help other people in ways I couldn't imagine doing as a little girl. To see the faces of the people at the food bank light up when you give them the food is the most rewarding feeling in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything." – Jayme O’Neill

“A few specific memories stand out to me as an adviser. One was watching my son, Joshua, and Dan Takas unload a truck full of food and deliver it to the Burton pantry during pantry hours. They saw the long line and people being helped and I saw the look on their faces. It really hit home to them and made a big impression. Also, Kyle Borah ran a drive at NDCL and took the food to the Newbury food pantry. One of the items donated was fresh corn on the cob. A woman came up to Kyle and thanked him with tears in her eyes. She hadn't had fresh corn on the cob in years she told him. What an impact that made on him and us all! I would like to thank all of the members of Greener Fields and the 4-H clubs who participate, as well as Alisha Faudie, our extension agent. I'm also grateful to the Junior and Senior Fairboards who have helped us with the drive and all of the businesses who have so generously given. This is truly a team effort! The 4-H motto is "to make the best better" and it's so encouraging to see the kids live it out and to have so many adults and businesses model this as well.” – Christine Belliveau

"It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to help those in need in our community. I have been so impressed by the hard work and commitment with which the 4-H youth have tackled this project. I foresee great success in all of their futures." - Augustine Kellis

We at Geauga Hunger Task Force are humbled by such great acts of kindness and support and want to say thank you to all who played a role in making this fundraiser happen! We appreciate you all so much!