"Dropped" on church lot: 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes for hungry families

"Dropped" on church lot: 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes for hungry families

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  – Members of area churches will gather at Cokesbury United Methodist Church on Saturday morning, Feb. 18, to bag up 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes for distribution to nearby food pantries.

Mike Smith, organizer of the “Sweet Potato Drop” and president of the Holston Conference United Methodist Men, said the vegetables were destined for landfills because they are not top-grade quality.

Instead, the organization, Society of St. Andrew, is salvaging the sweet potatoes from eastern North Carolina growers and will transport them to west Knoxville where they will be sorted into 10-pound bags.

The potatoes will arrive at Cokesbury’s north campus at 7 a.m. Volunteers from local United Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints churches will begin bagging at 8 a.m. Donations will be accepted to cover the $2,500 cost for the Society of St. Andrew to glean and transport the vegetables, Smith said.

The bagged potatoes will be donated to Cedar Bluff Elementary School, Fish Hospitality Pantry, Knox Area Rescue Ministries, Angelic Ministries International, Morgan-Scott Project, and food pantries at Cokesbury United Methodist Church, Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, Middlebrook Pike United Methodist Church, Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Smith, a member of Concord United Methodist Church, has organized previous Society of St. Andrew projects, including a 20,000-pound “green bean drop” in July 2011 and a 40,000-pound “watermelon drop” in June 2010.

Cokesbury United Methodist Church’s north campus (www.cclive.org) is located at 9919 Kingston Pike, Knoxville.