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Potatoes galore!

By Staff | Mar 20, 2009

Volunteers bag potatoes during last year’s event. Submitted photo

Hunger is a two-pronged problem that will be tackled locally by the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown, the Shepherd University Rotaract Club, and local volunteers.

Some 36 million Americans live with food insecurity. Yet the United States produces more than enough food to feed every American at risk of hunger – many times over. The USDA reports that more than 96 billion pounds of food is wasted each year in the U.S. and 20 percent of the nation’s crops rot in the fields.

People in the United States don’t go hungry because of a lack of available food. The problem is one of waste and distribution.

On April 18, the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown/Shepherd University Rotaract Club is sponsoring a Society of St. Andrew Potato Drop in front of Knutti Hall-Shepherd University to provide much needed food for the area’s hungry families. The Society of St. Andrew is donating a tractor-trailer load of 45,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, which were donated to them by a grower in North Carolina. These are perfectly good potatoes that are commercially unmarketable due to size or blemishes.

The load will be dumped onto North King Street in front of Knutti Hall. North King Street will be closed to traffic for this event. Starting at 7 a.m. to no later than noon, this effort will require approximately 100 volunteers from the community to swarm over the piles of spuds, bagging them into 10-lb. mesh bags, and loading them into vehicles from local food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, church food pantries and other agencies based in the eastern panhandle. Volunteers may park at the lot across from White Hall at Princess and High Street.

Concerned individuals and community/church service groups are free to participate. The combined efforts will have a direct benefit to nearly 4,000 West Virginia families. The public is encouraged to help with this community-wide project.

The Society of St. Andrew, a faith-based, non-denominational, nonprofit organization which salvages fresh produce that will otherwise be wasted and donates it to feed hungry Americans. It is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit suppliers of fresh produce to the hungry and has gleaned and distributed over 526 million pounds of potatoes since 1983.

Rotarian Tom Maiden has made a donation to offset the cost of transportation for these free potatoes. He is currently serving in Iraq and looks forward to coming back home to Shepherdstown in May. For more information about the Society of St. Andrew and its hunger relief programs: call toll free 1 (800) 333-4597 or visit “http://www.endhunger.org.”>www.endhunger.org.

– To participate, please call Community Services at Shepherd University at (304) 876-5402.

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Also, come and support fellow Rotarian Pastor Fred Soltow and learn about his upcoming hunger awareness and wellness project – Tour de Revs.

From May 13 through Aug. 29, Soltow and two other West Virginia pastors will embark on a 100-day, 13,000-mile bike ride around the United States on a unique three-person bicycle that is made of bamboo.

The team will focus on raising awareness, support, and money for hunger and wellness concerns. There will be an information table, opportunity to see the “triplet” bicycle, and cake cutting. Additional information can be found at http://tourderevs.org.

– Submitted by the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown