Sweet potatoes on menu in Rowland today

By: Staff report

DURHAM — About 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes will be dumped today in Rowland as part of an effort to help feed the hungry.

“That is a lot of sweet potatoes,” said Michael Binger, regional director for North Carolina and South Carolina.

The potato dump will take place at noon at the Rowland train depot, Binger said. Once the sweet potatoes hit the parking lot volunteers from area hunger relief organizations will fill boxes and carry them away.

New Hope United Methodist Church in Rowland helped organize the event, Binger said.

“They’re helping bring in the volunteers, and we’re bringing in the potatoes,” he said.

The potatoes were donated by a farmer in Kinston.

“He grew more sweet potatoes than he had contracts for, so he donated them,” Binger said.

The farmer will drive up to the train depot in an 18-wheeler with a dump box on it. The dump box will be lifted and the potatoes spilled into the parking lot.

The sweet potato donation is part of the Society of St. Andrew’s Giving Tuesday campaign, Binger said. Giving Tuesday is a charitable phenomena that began a few years ago when charitable organizations decided to try and emulate the success retailers had with Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns designed to get people to spend more money. Giving Tuesday was launched to urge people to consider donating their time and money on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

“Now most of the nonprofit charitable organizations that I know of have a Giving Tuesday division,” Binger said.

The Society of St. Andrew is a grassroots, faith-based, hunger relief nonprofit. The sweet potato event also is part of the Society’s gleaning mission.

According to the group’s website, “One major area of food waste in America is in farmers’ fields, where crops that don’t meet top-grade quality are left to rot or be plowed under. Gleaning is the traditional biblical practice of gathering crops that would otherwise be left in the fields to rot, or be plowed under after harvest. The Gleaning Network coordinates volunteers, growers, and distribution agencies to salvage this food for the needy.”

Staff report