MILLEDGEVILLE — Since 2001, Georgia College and community volunteers spend hours sorting and bagging potatoes during the annual Potato Drop event. The help that’s needed each year to organize the potatoes was cut out this time around as the 42,000 pounds of potatoes came already bagged, but still more than 150 volunteers came together to give a helping hand in order to feed 140,000 individuals within Baldwin, Jones and Wilkinson counties.
“The event last week on west campus went extremely well. It was the smoothest and best one we have had in 11 years. The potatoes came bagged and all we had to do was get them off the truck and sort them out. It made it a lot easier,” Georgia College GIVE Center Director Kendall Stiles said. “This is just a great event for the community and students to get involved and it meets the need in our community with hunger and poverty.”
The purpose of the Potato Drop is to primarily help educate participants about hunger and the amount of perfectly edible food that goes to waste in America, states the Georgia College website. The event begins with a tractor trailer load of potatoes which are dropped in a parking lot. Volunteers process the load by bagging the potatoes and loading them into transport vehicles for local churches and civic groups. These groups will disperse the potatoes to needy families in the area.
The annual Potato Drop is sponsored by the GIVE Center, Hands On Milledgeville (HOM), the Society of St. Andrews and Tri County EMC Foundation.
“Tri County EMC helps fund it each year with Operation Roundup, which helps cover the cost of freight of the potatoes and for the red mesh bagging. The potatoes come from St. Andrew and they work with farmers, mostly in the northern parts of the country. Food and different supplies are given through donations and sponsorships,” Stiles said. “We had 140,000 potatoes, which is a tractor trailer amount, and we help organize it. We work with faith-based organizations, nonprofits and food pantries, who in turn, find homes or families that have a need for the potatoes.”