The iconic blue corduroy FFA jacket has united FFA members across the United States since it was first introduced in 1933 at the National FFA Convention. Although every FFA member deserves to wear the jacket, did you know not every member can afford one? In fact, only 50 percent of FFA members nationwide own an FFA official jacket.
But thanks to the help of generous donations, the National FFA Organization can gift jackets to members who would not otherwise be able to own one. Give the Gift of Blue is a nationwide program that gives every member the chance to be part of the tradition. More than 10,000 jackets have been gifted to deserving students since 2014 in all 52 state associations.
In Farmville, Va., 15 members of the Prince Edward FFA Chapter have received their FFA jackets through Give the Gift of Blue.
“We’re a tiny FFA chapter in the heart of Virginia that was dormant for a while, but our members are bringing FFA in our community back to life,” says Prince Edward FFA advisor Kortney Hayes. “Our chapter is diverse in its membership, but as a renewed chapter, our students are finding out that diversification doesn’t change their potential in FFA.”
A Prince Edward FFA senior became the first member in the chapter to apply for a jacket through the program in 2019, and other chapter members have followed, applying to receive jackets of their own.
“This program is an asset for our chapter; it’s been a weight lifted off of parents and students,” Hayes says. “It encourages them to get involved without worrying about the cost of doing so. Several Prince Edward FFA members have said that owning and wearing their personalized FFA jackets has made them feel part of a bigger family. It also has given them a sense of pride in where they come from and where they are going.”
The National FFA Organization has received hundreds of individual and corporate donations for the Give the Gift of Blue program, as well as donations from local chapters and state associations. An $80 gift provides one member with a jacket and tie or scarf, but that is only the beginning – it also gives them a sense of belonging.