Let’s take a glance at the numbers so far this year.
4.8 Million Pounds Collected and Distributed
14.5 Million Servings of Fresh Produce Provided
4,255 Passionate Volunteers Engaged
696 Events to End Hunger Held
620 Recipient Agencies Received Food
Now let’s check out the latest good news.
One special spud…
You’d be surprised to learn what a potato can do… it can clean silver, grow roses, and even power a clock. One pound of seed potatoes can also grow up to ten pounds of potatoes!
Concord United Methodist Church in Knoxville has seen the power within a simple potato. For years, Concord has been the host for a seed potato drop in eastern Tennessee. A load of seed potatoes is delivered to the church in the early spring and more than a dozen agencies pick up their allotment of seed for their clients each year.
Our friend Brooke is the Director of Elk Garden School Community Ministry, a recipient of those seed potatoes for the past three years. This ministry is proof that a few seed potatoes can provide much more than one pound of food.
The partnership among Concord UMC, Elk Garden School Community Ministry, and SoSA provides this ministry the resources to feed people, teach new skills, and bring a community together.
The Saturday morning pick-up of 7,000 pounds of seed potatoes is only the beginning of the journey for Brooke and the Elk Garden School Community Ministry.
Once delivered, those potatoes are distributed to people who visit the food pantry, community garden volunteers, and community residents who will grow food on their own land.
The food pantry is the first step to address the food needs of community residents. Once they connect with the community residents, Brooke and her team seek to address additional needs.
Those seed potatoes are the perfect opportunity to educate residents about growing food for themselves. At no cost to the food pantry clients, Brooke and her volunteers provide seed potatoes and training to demonstrate that even with limited space, they can grow food in containers of all shapes and sizes at their homes.
The ministry’s community garden is the next step. Volunteers plant seed potatoes, other veggies, fruits, and herbs to demonstrate the stages of planting, tending, and harvesting.
They grow a variety of fresh produce for the food pantry inventory. They even prepare “taste tests” to encourage residents to try nutritious foods that might be new to them.
And finally, though it is in a rural region, the ministry center is located in an area that has very few providers of fresh food. To address this, residents with some land, expertise, and enthusiasm volunteer to plant larger quantities of seed potatoes on their land to harvest and donate back to the food pantry.
It turns out there’s a lot of promise in a plain potato. With the help of Concord UMC, SoSA, and the folks at Elk Garden School Community Ministry, a community is being fed, learning new skills, and sharing the joy of harvesting nourishing food in their own backyards.
Not interested in Seed Potatoes?
You can still volunteer with SoSA!
Volunteers help glean fields, coordinate drops, fundraise, drive trucks, and overall help end hunger.
Each person serves a very important role in the Society of St. Andrew’s Gleaning Network.
It’s the ideal way for people who live in a state with a SoSA regional office to get involved in gleaning, food rescue, and feeding hungry people—on a schedule that works for them and within an hour of home.
If you believe that hunger is a problem with a solution, if you don’t mind a little dirt, if you don’t mind asking for help, and if you have a passion to get healthy food to people in great need, you have what it takes to join the mission!
Contact SoSA and register online to find out more about how you can bring people together in your community to harvest and share nourishing food with hungry neighbors!