Due to restrictions and guidelines in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the celebrations of Dairy Month in Wisconsin have undergone major changes this year. When the Pittsville FFA Alumni organization approached Hay Creek Companies about hosting a drive-thru version of its annual fundraiser breakfast, the team was happy to get involved. More than 800 people attended the breakfast on July 4, 2020 at the main pallet plant. The menu featured regular pancakes, potato pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and ham, cheese curds, and milk. It also includes cranberry juice and sweetened dried cranberries from Badger State Fruit, one of the Gardner family companies.
FFA Alumni Vice President Ashleigh said, “The alumni are beyond excited to be able to host our 38th annual breakfast. Our mission is to support the leaders of tomorrow. The breakfast is our largest fundraiser of the year. Thanks to Hay Creek Companies opening their doors, we will be able to hold true to our mission and be able to support our area youth. We couldn’t do it without the support of the community, especially the Tom and Janeen and the Hay Creek team.”
The decision to host the event as a drive-thru breakfast meant the hosts could keep safety as top priority while still serving the community. “The drive-thru concept allowed the Pittsville FFA Alumni to show its gratitude to our amazing community while allowing our agricultural supporters an opportunity to promote and advocate for agriculture in central Wisconsin,” said Lindsay Meissner, Agriculture teacher at Pittsville High School and the FFA advisor.
The Gardner family is active in the community and has ownership in several businesses in addition to Hay Creek Companies, including Badger State Fruit, a cranberry processing plant. Cranberries and dairy products are a staple when it comes to farming in heart of Wisconsin. “For years, we have been an active support of the Pittsville Dairy Breakfast and the Pittsville FFA, so when Josh and Ashleigh Calaway approached us with their idea of a drive-thru dairy breakfast, we agreed that our facilities would work well for their plan,” said Tom Gardner, president of Hay Creek Companies.
This was an opportunity for the community support local farms and learn more about the ag industry. “Anytime we can advocate for our local farmers and promote and educate our local community about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives is always at the forefront of our initiatives. We want our supporters to support our local farm families every day and know where their food comes from,” Meissner said.
This event means a lot to the local FFA chapter. As a fundraiser it’s one of the major sources of funding for students, and that helps grow the next generation of leaders. Meissner said, “The Pittsville FFA Alumni and FFA hope to create an environment where people and communities can develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. We are driven by our local farm and agricultural families and advocate to educate others about the importance of agriculture in our daily lives.”
Hay Creek Companies is happy to serve the community, and being located in the exact center of the Dairy State, it was only appropriate to find a way to continue to celebrate farmers and support the local FFA chapter.
[Photos by Pittsville FFA Alumni]