Source: Sherman Publications

Volunteers unload, sort 40,120 pounds of potatoes for hungry

by CJ Carnacchio

October 10, 2012

Potatoes are certainly a versatile vegetable. They can be boiled, mashed, fried, baked or roasted and served as part of breakfast, lunch or dinner.

However they’re prepared or whenever they’re served, they’re very good at satisfying an empty stomach, which is what Oxford United Methodist Church (OUMC) used them for on Saturday morning.

The church’s men’s group held its fifth annual Potato Drop in the yard of Burdick Street Landscape, Supply & Equipment. The event featured volunteers, plus many enthusiastic members of Boy Scout Troop 366, lifting, sorting and stacking 10-pound sacks of spuds.

A total of 40,120 pounds of potatoes – or 4,012 bags – were prepared for pickup by representatives from 22 food banks, pantries, churches and other charitable organizations based in Oxford, Leonard, Addison Township, Brandon Township, Dryden, Pontiac, Clarkston, Lapeer, Davison, Davisburg and Rochester.

Locally, Oxford/Orion FISH received 1,500 pounds, while two churches in Leonard picked up a combined 750 pounds. The Salvation Army’s Echo Grove Camp in Addison received 100 pounds.

Oxford’s annual Potato Drop is part of a larger 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 and other produce 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 2010, the project salvaged and distributed 28.1 million pounds of potatoes and other produce to hungry folks in 32 states.

Since the Society of St. Andrew was established in 1983, it’s given more than 623 million pounds of potatoes and produce to organizations who feed the needy.