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Shepherdstown Rotary hosts local food donations

By Staff | May 5, 2017

Submitted photo Volunteers helped with the Rotary Club produce drop recently in Shepherdstown.

On Saturday, April 22, the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown once again teamed up with the Society of St. Andrew to bring the Society’s “Potato and Produce Project” to Shepherdstown.

The Society is a faith-based, non-denominational, nonprofit organization that provides surplus and gleaned food to needy people nationwide through various programs. Its Potato and Produce Project distributes donated potatoes and other produce to local organizations, which in turn distribute the food free within their communities. In this way, the Society delivers millions pounds of produce to the needy each year.

The Shepherdstown Rotary Club has been distributing food locally through the program annually since 2007. It pays for the cost of transporting the food to Shepherdstown (typically about $1,000 per year) and coordinates the distribution.

In this case, the Society provided the Club with a tractor-trailer load of white potatoes. These were perfectly good potatoes that were commercially unmarketable due to size or slight blemishes. The load was dumped onto North King Street in front of Knutti Hall, and more than 60 volunteers loaded them into vehicles from local food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, church food pantries and other service agencies.

The volunteers included Rotary Club members; members of the Shepherd University Rotaract Club, a Rotary-sponsored service organization for college-age students; members of the Jefferson High School Interact Club, a Rotary-sponsored service organization for high school students; other Shepherd students; and community members.

In all, 13 organizations in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle and nearby Maryland received potatoes through this year’s effort. They included the following: Berkeley County Senior Services, Good Shepherd Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, Hedgesville Baptist Church, Immanuel House, Jefferson County Community Ministries, Jefferson County Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels, Morgan County Starting Points, Mountaineer Food Bank, Salvation Army, Snyder’s Food Pantry, VOW Ministry and the Washington County Community Action Council.

The Rotary Club coordinated this year’s effort in collaboration with the Shepherd University Office of Student Community Services and Service Learning.