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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 16, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Mar01

By Deborah Carl

LDS Church Takes Idaho's Surplus Potatoes for the Needy

BLACKFOOT, IDAHO -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has developed a plan to aid needy people in the United States and abroad and help Idaho potato growers. The fall 2000 potato crop was so good that farmers took 10% off the market in an attempt to stabilize prices. A surplus of potatoes is good news for consumers -- the price goes down -- but if you're a farmer, it means your hard work won't make enough to pay the bills.

"This is a joint effort by potato growers from Idaho and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to place this burdensome supply of potatoes in the hands of those whose lives would be extremely blessed by the receipt of the mere essentials of life," said Joseph Wirthlin, area director of welfare services for the Church. Potato Management Company growers have donated 16 million pounds of potatoes to the Church which will use its packing facilities near Idaho Falls to distribute 4.5 million pounds. Volunteers will sort, wash, and pack the potatoes to be shipped to food banks and homeless shelters throughout the United States.

The other 12 million pounds will be dehydrated at the Church's five facilities in eastern Idaho and stored for humanitarian efforts. The Church has also agreed to purchase dehydrated potatoes to ship to El Salvador and other countries which have recently been devastated by earthquakes.

Removing the surplus potatoes from the U.S. markets and feeding the hungry provides a win-win situation. Farmers are currently receiving 1 cent per pound, while it costs approximately 5 cents per pound to produce potatoes. To eliminate the surplus, farmers face two choices: dumping the potatoes on fields to act as fertilizer or donating them to charity.


LDS church will help distribute potatoes
Boise ID Statesman (AP) 13Mar01 D1
The Associated Press

KIFI TV8 Idaho Falls ID 12Mar01 D1
By Local News 8 Staff


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