Posted: 5/5/16 at 9:05am. Story by Linda Peay.
On April 30, members of Glenn Memorial Baptist Church bagged and distributed about 42,000 Irish potatoes to the community of Prospect, Virginia.
“This really is one of the most fun events we have had,” said Rev. John Baldwin, the church’s pastor.
For the second time, Glenn Memorial worked with the Society of St. Andrews to help curb food waste and stop hunger.
The Society of St. Andrews gleans fields throughout the country and salvages food that would otherwise be wasted. Members of Glenn Memorial had heard about the Society’s ministry and wanted to collaborate with them to help the community around the church.
Rev. Baldwin said, “As like we did the first year, the potatoes arrived in 50-pound bags on pallets, and a church member used his tractor to remove the pallets. Then, we took the potatoes out of the bags and placed them in smaller bags, like the plastic grocery bags you see in stores.
“They were then distributed to local food pantries and other churches in the Appomattox Baptist Association. Those churches will distribute them to their communities, too.” He added, “There are also individuals in our church who delivered bags of potatoes to folks who have no way of making it out to the church.”
The Potato Drop is not a fundraiser to the church. There is no money gained from hosting it; funding for shipping the potatoes to the church is donated from church members.
Rev. Baldwin said, “The Potato Drop is a way to distribute food out into the community. Our desire is to reach out to as many people as we possibly can, by sharing potatoes, but most importantly, the Gospel Message. In each bag, we included a scripture and the message of salvation, so that each family gets the opportunity to read about Christ.”
Although Glenn Memorial desires to make it an annual event, there are also challenges to make that happen. Rev. Baldwin said, “The determining factor is whether or not the potatoes are available from The Society of St. Andrews. We have to be flexible to what is available, and trust that the Lord is working everything out according to His plan.”
Church members and volunteers from the Baptist Campus Ministries at Longwood and Hampden-Sydney gathered together to carry out the many tasks needed for the drop. Last week’s potato drop took a little over four hours with all potatoes distributed. The church assisted thousands of people from five different counties.
“It was a true blessing,” Rev. Baldwin said. He added, “It is truly an awesome event that incorporates people of all ages. We have been blessed to see God moving in the church and community, through events just like this one.”