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Potatoes bagged for local charities

By Staff | Apr 20, 2012

Chronicle photo by Toni Milbourne Students bag potatoes for a variety of charitable organizations during the early morning hours Saturday.

Members of the Shepherdstown Rotary and Shepherd University Roteract gathered Saturday, April 14 in the early morning hours as 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes were dropped from a truck in front of Knutti Hall.

The potatoes were then bagged by volunteers and distributed to 17 food banks that reach the four-state region. Local clubs partnered with the Society of St. Andrew, a grassroots, faith-based, hunger relief organization to make the event possible.

The Society of St. Andrew salvages tractor-trailer loads of potatoes and other produce that are rejected by commercial markets or potato chip factories due to slight imperfections in size, shape, sugar content or surface blemishes. Through the Potato and Produce Project, the Society of St. Andrew is able to redirect these loads of fresh, nutritious produce to food banks, soup kitchens, Native American reservations, food pantries, low-income housing areas, local churches and other hunger agencies for redistribution.

The nonprofit group bridges the hunger gap by taking salvaged food that is rejected due to imperfections and then secured by St. Andrew to be given to food pantries and soup kitchens.

North King Street in Shepherdstown was closed to traffic until approximately noon Saturday to allow a semi-truck full of potatoes to be dropped into the street. Potatoes were then bagged and placed in designated areas according to each charity.

“The potato drop is a perfect opportunity for the community and campus to join together for a hands-on, meaningful project,” said Holly Frye, assistant vice president for student affairs (community engagement). “The food that we bag will end up on the table of someone who may otherwise go without.”