EVANSVILLE, Ind. – “A lot of people aren’t making ends meet this year, so it’s one less thing they’ll have to purchase,” said the Rev. Janet Kelley of Old North United Methodist Church in Evansville.

“It’s been a success this far,” said Bart Burke, president of United Methodist Men at Old North.

By 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, members of Old North United Methodist Men in Evansville had distributed about 42,000 pounds of potatoes to Evansville area food banks and to needy individuals.

The Potato Project had its origin in Rosholt, Wis., where Bushmans, Inc. allowed volunteers with the Society of St. Andrew to glean potatoes from its property. The society donated some of those to Old North United Methodist.

The Old North United Methodist Men distributed 10,000 pounds of the potatoes to the Tri-State Food Bank, 4,000 pounds to the Salvation Army and the remaining 28,000 pounds to other agencies and anyone who came by to pick up a sack of potatoes.

The Potato Project was started in 1983 by the Society of St. Andrew. Old North hopes to continue annually, but cost could be an issue. Funds are still needed to pay for transportation and packing for the potatoes.

“We are still accepting donations. It costs from $3,000 to $6,000 dollars to pay for transportation and packaging,” Kelley said.

Old North’s United Methodist Men is hoping to raise funds and work out a few kinks in the process to be able to continue next year.

“I think it’s important to do this because this will help feed the needy this (Christmas) season,” Burke said.

According to David Martin, Indiana Conference United Methodist Men’s president, this was the first Potato Drop in the former South Conference in at least ten years.

The potatoes were given away in less than three hours to needy families and food pantries.

“It truly was exciting and the presence of God in the lives of the volunteers and the recipients was evident,” said Martin.

For more information about the Society of St. Andrew Potato Project, visit www.endhunger.org.

Information from the Evansville Courier & Press was used in the writing of this news story.