Sixteen years ago, Eldon Weber had a desire to teach children the importance of the agricultural industry, including how we get our food and the impact agriculture has on our economy. While employed at Iowa State University, he developed the Pizz-A-Thon experience. Over the sixteen year period his program continued to grow. By working closely with teachers and their students in Iowa and the Quad Cities, he was able to adapt his objectives and goals to follow the Core Learning Standards required by the State Departments of Education. Eldon was able to expand the program in 2000 to middle schools in North Carolina.
What is the Pizz-A-Thon?
Students work in teams to create a pizza by determining the ingredients they will use and identifying the food stages by way of tracing the ingredients back to the soil. They are also required to come up with a marketing campaign and must “sell” their pizza through a presentation to the judges. At the time Eldon was on faculty at Iowa State University, the winning team represented its school at a state competition which was held in May at the University. Students were given a tour of the ISU grounds –visiting the greenhouse, dairy and more. Although they do not have a state competition currently, he hopes to develop one in the future with after school clubs.
Enter the Lions
In 2013, Eldon invited the Ames Breakfast Lions Clubof Iowa to host the program. Prior to their hosting, while Eldon was president of the Ames Breakfast Lions, the club assisted in testing the program with the Boys & Girls Club of Story County –a success that gave them confidence that it would be a good program to use in connecting with youth and families. As Past President of the Ames Breakfast Lions Club and active member, Eldon tweaked the program to fit Lions Clubs goals of benefitting our youth.
Making an Impact
Together as a Lions Club, they reached 150 youth in Ames, Iowa this year. Between 1998 and now, over 5,000 children have participated in the Pizz-A-Thon program. More than halfway to their goal, Eldon and the Ames Breakfast Lions are striving to reach 10,000 children by 2016.
Interested in learning more about the Pizz-A-Thon program or how to start a branch in your community? Visit their website for more information.