This potato drop didn’t have the smoothest start, but through people working together and a few answered prayers, it had a perfect ending.
Jessica Fitzgerald of the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia served on the team that organized this event. She shares, “The truck with the potatoes was an hour late. There was a 30% chance of rain. Over 100 volunteers showed up, but since the potatoes had not arrived, some were restless and left. When potatoes arrived, we unloaded two pallets, but then the battery died in the motorized pallet jack. After praying for it not to rain, the sun came out and we were being cooked. And to top it off, the number of community residents who came out to pick up free potatoes was less than anticipated.”
But even these problems could not stop what would be a beautiful day, full of blessing after blessing. This would turn out to be an amazing and memorable day for more than eight churches and hundreds of people in Norfolk, Virginia.
These local churches wanted to join the mission to end hunger, but weren’t sure where to begin. Jessica heard about the Society of St. Andrew and knew this was the perfect opportunity to partner together!
From the beginning, the churches knew they wanted this event to be about more than just distributing potatoes. They wanted to get to know their neighbors. The churches wanted to build relationships and so they planned to take a moment and get to know every person that came to pick up some free potatoes.
In one day, 130 volunteers gave away 400 sack lunches (each church had prepared 50 lunches before the event), free clothing, Bibles, and 20,000 pounds of Russet potatoes, and made a few new friends in the process. There was a live band playing music and a tented area to offer prayer and words of encouragement, if requested. A food truck even volunteered to provide free samples of fresh-fried French fries for recipients and volunteers alike.
This event was a massive success because of the team effort and a few answered prayers. Many leaders and volunteers made important contributions:
- When the electric pallet jack died, a volunteer ran to his business to use his manual pallet jack.
- When they still had more potatoes to share, a pastor loaded up his truck and delivered bags of potatoes to housing complexes nearby to spread the word and reach more families.
- When traffic started to increase, local police volunteered to coordinate.
By the end of the day, folks from every walk of life had come through. Nearby pastors received word and came to see what was happening “around the corner.” Seniors and veterans from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter came to claim potatoes and to volunteer. Girl Scouts even came to contribute their time.
Volunteers served their neighbors and local residents received a free lunch, a bag of potatoes, and hopefully made a new friend. There was a place for everyone .At the end, Jessica shares, “We hope that we asked some important questions, made people feel loved, and inspired other churches to do the same thing for their communities as well. Together, we can make a real difference in our community.”
This story is about a few potatoes, a community in need, and some regular people who were willing to serve and it could easily be the same story for several hundred groups across the country.
Whether it’s a weekend or a weekday, your community needs you. Sometimes there are a few hiccups but it’s always worth it. You’re more than just welcome, you’re invited to join the mission to end hunger.
Are you ready to serve your local community in the mission to end hunger? If so, please consider connecting with your local office of the Society of St. Andrew. We would be delighted to get you into the fields to rescue food, make connections, and help you feed your hungry neighbors.
When you’re ready to get involved, Click here to sign up online.