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Spuds o' plenty for area churches, pantries

Stacking sacks of spuds are (from left) OHS senior Richard Nelson, Oxford resident Paul Ward and James McDonald, also of Oxford. Photos by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
October 20, 2010 - Someone must have ordered extra starch because Oxford was loaded with it Saturday morning.

Between 40,000 and 42,000 pounds of spuds were delivered, unpacked and picked up by 21 churches and food pantries as part of the annual "Potato Drop."

Organized by the Oxford United Methodist Men and held in the yard of Burdick Street Landscape, Supply & Equipment, the event featured volunteers lifting, sorting and stacking 50-pound sacks of potatoes.

The spuds were then picked up by churches and food pantries from Oxford, Orion, Pontiac, Davison, Lapeer, Clarkston, Rochester, Addison, Dryden, Leonard, and Lakeville.

Oxford's annual Potato Drop is part of a nationwide effort. Every year since 1989 through their "Meals for Millions" mission project, United Methodist Men's groups from around the country participate in the Society of St. Andrew's "Potato and Produce Project."

Millions of pounds of potatoes get rejected annually by commercial markets and potato chip factories due to slight imperfections in size, shape, sugar content or blemishes. Rather than allow these perfectly edible spuds to end up decaying in landfills, the Potato and Produce Project gets them redirected to America's hungry.

In 2009, the Potato and Produce Project was able to salvage and distribute 10.79 million pounds of potatoes and other produce in 26 states and the District of Columbia. A total of 128,000 pounds was distributed in Michigan.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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