Paso Strong signs made by students will be sold at Premier Ag and will supply 175 meals

PASO ROBLES — In Apr. 2020, the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation informed the California Mid State Fair (CMSF) they would not be attending the Junior Livestock Auction due to the financial climate in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Again, in 2021, the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation will not be attending the Junior Livestock Auction.

Since 2012, the foundation has been responsible for purchasing nearly half of the FFA and 4-H livestock animals up for bid at the CMSF.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Each animal purchased by the foundation was also then donated to local food banks. In 2014, they donated nearly 90,000 pounds of meat to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County.

So having no Wood-Claeyssens Foundation was a huge loss not only for FFA and 4-H kids but also a major loss for local food banks.

Now, the county is going into another CMSF with no support from the foundation.

Justin Pickard, a welding teacher at PRHS, and his students were inspired to help fill in the hole that the foundation has left.

“It was something that hit us all as we have the ability to do it. We’ve been very fortunate. It’s time for us to give back,” said Pickard.

Pickards welding students made 125 #PASOSTRONG signs to be sold at Premier Ag on Paso Robles Street.

“It was a good community partnership,” said Pickard.

PRW Steel Supply supplied the materials for the students, and Powder Coating USA powder coated the signs at no cost, while Premier Ag agreed to sell the signs for the students.

Many of Pickards students are also FFA or 4-H members, so they have known the Woods-Claeyssons Foundation and its impact on the community.

“We have the ability to make a difference, and that’s what my students identified. They have skills that 98 percent of our society doesn’t possess, so they wanted to put those skills to use. To put benefit to something that was close to them, because a lot of them were livestock showmen and women, and they understood what happened last year when we lost the Wood-Claeysson foundation. Beyond the aspect of being tied directly to it because they were showmen, but they could see the impact that COVID was making in our community,” said Pickard.

The welding students will also be making 16 Santa Maria Style BBQs. The BBQs will be a smaller style running 18 inches by 14 inches.

Fifteen of the BBQs will be sold at the Industrial Education auction at the CMSF. Proceeds of these BBQs will go to the James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Project.

The JWBYLF started in 2020 when the Wood-Claeysson Foundation announced they would not be returning.

The JWBYLF will assist youth exhibitors by purchasing projects and helping local families in need by putting student-raised protein right back into the food supply at SLO Food Bank.

You can find more information on the JWBYL visit jwbylf.org.

The #PASOSTRONG signs are on sale now at Premier Ag for $25 each. Premier Ag will also be taking additional donations for those who wish to make a larger donation.

There were a limited amount of signs made. As of Jun. 3, there were approximately 80 signs left for sale.