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2 Boyertown churches help feed those in need

A group of 20 members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Boyertown recently joined together to cut seed potatoes for IHartHarvest, also known as The Potato Project.

“Coming together as a community and joint congregations in cooperation to help others was joyful,” Karen Pollock, Potato Project lead, and board member of IHartHarvest Inc., said in a statement.

A Christian Ministry outreach addressing local hunger issues, IHartHarvest Inc. volunteers plant, tend, harvest and help provide food to those in need, according to the group’s website,  https://www.ihartharvest.org/home/mission-info.

Members of St. John’s have supported the Potato Project since its inception 14 years ago by providing volunteers and financial support.

For the past two years, Good Shepherd UCC has joined the St. John’s seed-cutting effort in their joint parking lot.

“The atmosphere was positive with the shared goal of accomplishing our task,” said Pollock. “Conversation flowed as we got to know one another as we worked. Silly songs were sung by Terry Wade, retired Boyertown school district teacher, smiles and laughter were abundant.”

An additional 10 families took bags of potatoes home to cut and then returned them.

St. John's ELC and Good Shepherd UCC in Boyertown cut seed potatoes on April 20. In total, the group cut 4,000 pounds, or the equivalent of 80 bags, of potatoes that were planted the following two weeks by IHartHarvest. (Photo courtesy of St. John's ELC, Boyertown)
St. John’s ELC and Good Shepherd UCC in Boyertown cut seed potatoes on April 20. In total, the group cut 4,000 pounds, or the equivalent of 80 bags, of potatoes that were planted the following two weeks by IHartHarvest. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s ELC, Boyertown)

In total, the group cut 4,000 pounds, or the equivalent of 80 bags, of potatoes that were planted the following two weeks by IHartHarvest. Based on past years’ results, every pound planted generates seven pounds of potatoes at harvest time, all of which will be donated to Helping Harvest Food Bank. In September, St. John’s will head to the fields to help harvest these crops.

“It’s not a hope, it’s a guarantee. The Potato Project/IHartHarvest has a proven track record of providing food to those in need,” said Pollock.

The entire potato crop is donated to the Helping Harvest Food Bank, formerly known as the Greater Reading Food Bank, who then pack the potatoes into 5-pound bags. The Food Bank distributes the bags out to their network of local food pantries throughout Berks and Schuylkill counties, she said.

“After 14 growing seasons, IHartHarvest has donated approximately 1.4 million pounds of potatoes to Helping Harvest Food Bank, an average of about 100,000 pounds per year,” said Pollock. “Hungry people are fed from this effort.”

The seed potatoes are purchased and donated to IHartHarvest annually by Weaver’s Hardware in Fleetwood.

“Two years ago, financial support from St John’s ELC of Boyertown assisted IHartHarvest with the purchase of a string bean harvester. The first growing season in 2022 produced approximately 8,000 pounds of snap peas, green beans, and yellow wax beans. The 2023 growing season produced just over 6,000 pounds,” she said.

For more information on their mission, visit facebook.com/PotatoProject.


Source: Berkshire mont

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