THE 4-H FOODSTAND WAS THE FOCUS for a number of renovations this previous week due to the efforts of volunteers for the Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity through Mr. Owosso Justin Horvath and his campaign manager, Sue Osika and a diverse number of hard-working contributors, including Joe Hammontree of the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds. Hammontree and others spent numerous days ahead of the planned renovations, prepping a large number of projects. The 4-H Foodstand received a considerable amount of attention, new paint and landscaping, creating a fresh, clean look just in time for the Shiawassee County Fair on Sunday, Aug. 4.

   Rep. Ben Frederick was on hand early Monday, July 29, offering his services to the project. “We are actually seeing with Habitat, that some people actually become interested in working with trades and things like that,” shared Frederick. “I’m a habitat kid. In addition to being state rep. and a lifelong resident of Shiawassee County, twenty years ago, my family was selected for a Habitat partnership and that was a formative experience for me as a teenager.” He credits the experience with developing his own interest in public service. Referencing the Foodstand project, he shared, “This project is about stewardship and pride.”

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor

    The Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Owosso and 4-H came together for the first time on Monday, July 29 with a mission to refurbish the 4-H Foodstand at the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds. Justin Horvath, who was named the 2019 Mr. Owosso on June 8 during the Curwood Festival, after raising over $44,000 for his chosen nonprofit organization, the Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity, had sought a way he could give directly back to the community – keeping it in the county in a manner where every person would be able to see and enjoy how the fundraising efforts pay off. His campaign manager, Sue Osika, who works for the Habitat for Humanity organization, had recognized the need at the fairgrounds through social media and was inspired to find a route to revive the 4-H Foodstand building.

   For those less familiar, the 4-H Foodstand dates to the late 1980s and is used by various groups year-round. Thousands of participating 4–H and FFA members have not only utilized the facility, but have volunteered their time at the building for decades. During fair week, every club donates volunteer time to the cause, beginning in the extremely early hours of morning with breakfast and continuing throughout the day. The Foodstand is a community hub at the fairgrounds, with the fairgrounds being a community hub for the entire county. Horvath and Osika recognized that fact and organized a workforce to assist with a number of projects, including interior/exterior painting, deck refinishing, general cleaning, landscaping and an overall “sprucing up” of the building. Eventually a terraced patio area will be constructed on the arena facing side of the place and will include more seating, but that could not be accomplished in time for the Shiawassee County Fair, which officially begins this Sunday, Aug. 4.

   The Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity has a physical footprint in Shiawassee County at the Restore Owosso location at 1492 N. M-52. The nonprofit organization operates with the thought of keeping money here that is raised here. There are a number of programs available. More information is available at and donations are welcome.

   After a brief planning process, a large group of volunteers from Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity, the Shiawassee County Fair, 4-H Clubs and various community groups, met on Monday, July 29 and also on Wednesday, July 31 to tackle the improvements at the 4-H Foodstand, just in time for everyone to enjoy when the fair starts on Sunday.

Hard Work for a Great Cause was last modified: August 5th, 2019 by Karen Elford