Potato Drop delivers 40,000 pounds of spuds
Local truck driver Wayne Horras hauled 40,000 pounds of potatoes into Mount Pleasant and Packwood to be distributed to food banks, churches and other organizations through a Potato Drop project.
Through the combined efforts of Prairie View United Methodist Church Men, Pekin Ministerial Association, Mobile United Methodist Missionaries and the Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church Missions Committee, the potatoes were brought to the area for the eighth Potato Drop project in the last nine years, according to information provided by Bill Anderson, one of the organizers.
Horras hauled the potatoes from Stevens Point, Wis. He dropped 12,000 pounds off at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church Friday before traveling on to Prairie View United Methodist Church on Highway 78 near Packwood Road to drop off the remaining 28,000 pounds Saturday morning.
Prairie View youth and other volunteers loaded the 10-pound bags of potatoes into vehicles to be taken to 38 different food banks, churches and other organizations in southeast Iowa, including The Lord’s Cupboard, the Fairfield and Van Buren senior meal sites and Southern Iowa Economic Development Association.
The organizations receive the potatoes for free. The cost of bagging and transporting the potatoes is funded through local churches, individuals, businesses and organizations.
“The Prairie View United Methodist Men are proud to be a leader in serving the needs of others,” said Anderson.
Anderson said Saturday’s Potato Drop was one of the coldest he could remember, so the volunteers’ work was appreciated.
Meals for Millions is a program established through the Society of St. Andrew to help feed America’s hungry. Produce, such as potatoes with slight imperfections in size, shape, color, consistency or general appearance, are not marketable as No. 1 quality produce, so is left in the field.
Although the produce doesn’t meet the regulated standards, it still has its nutritional value, so growers are contracted to salvage the produce, wash, bag and store it for later distribution.
From January through September this year, nearly 23 million pounds of produce has been saved and distributed by the Society of St. Andrew.
According to Anderson’s information, a recent study shows about 50 percent of all produce grown in the United States is wasted.