On April 13, the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown once again teamed up with the Society of St. Andrew to bring the Society's "Potato 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 Project program 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 about 20 million pounds of produce to the needy each year.
The Shepherdstown Rotary Club has been distributing food locally through the program annually since 2007.
In this case, the Society provided Shepherdstown Rotary with a 42,000 pound tractor-trailer load of potatoes that had been donated by a grower in Caribou, ME. 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 approximately 50 volunteers loaded them into vehicles from local food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, church food pantries and other Eastern Panhandle-based service agencies.
The volunteers included Rotary Club members; members of the Shepherd University Rotaract Club, a Rotary-sponsored service organization for students; other Shepherd students; and community members.
In all, some 21 local organizations received potatoes through this year's effort. The effort was coordinated in collaboration with the Shepherd University Office of Student Community Services and Service Learning.