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COLDWATER, MI -- 4-H offers a variety of opportunities for young people to learn skills, accomplish goals, and earn awards for their efforts. 

The activities offered are available to those who are interested in participating. While the 4-H program is supported by some funding, the counties still need to raise money in order to provide the various benefits the members can work towards.

In Coldwater, MI, the Branch County 4-H program has several arms of the organization that provide funds for awards, scholarships, trips, workshops, and other monetary needs. 

The Branch County 4-H Leader’s Council, along with the Branch County 4-H Boosters Club and the 4-H Foundation all work together to provide any and all the young people in the county with options, no matter their family’s economic status.

One of the biggest moneymakers is the Annual 4-H Fazoli’s Dinner and Pie Auction. 

This winter fundraiser has been appreciated since 2012 and is intended to be a night for families and friends to come together in support of the local program. The funds raised that night are used for the county’s annual Recognition Night, several training workshops throughout the year, and a single $1000 scholarship for a local student to use for college expenses.

“The pies are provided by 4-H members and leaders,” 4-H Extension Educator Connie Lange said. “The pie auction came about when we needed to find a new fundraiser after years of talking about it.”

The meal includes a plate of spaghetti, two bread sticks, a tossed salad, and a beverage. 

The pies were the stars of the evening with traditional recipes being sold along with modern creations.  The usual fruit desserts were there as well as cream and baked favorites. The highest bid pie was co-conut cream with a price tag of $500.

This was an enjoyable time as the purchased pies were immediately sampled by the winning bidder and those seated at the same table.

For 2018, more than 50 pies were created and sold, garnering over $7500 for future plans. These pro-grams serve 1200 young people throughout the county with 800 specifically involved in 4-H.

In addition, the Boosters Club runs an Eat Stand during their county fair offering quality homemade foods with the county 4-H clubs taking their turns manning the building. 

They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus for the public to appreciate. Monies raised during the fair are used for scholarships towards the Toronto trip and other needs.

Finally, the 4-H Foundation serves as an advisory group for the county 4-H program and receives dona-tions to use for scholarships to Kettunen Center workshops, Citizen Washington Focus, and Capitol Experience. One of their biggest supporters is the Coldwater Rotary Club who conducts a raffle and donates the money to the foundation.

This is just one example of how communities, civic organizations, and volunteers come together to fully exemplify the 4-H motto “To Make the Best Better.”

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