Potato Management Company announced today that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, has agreed to circulate 16 million pounds of surplus potatoes to needy people throughout the world.
The Church has agreed to use its own packing facilities near Idaho Falls, ID, to receive, wash and sort potatoes donated by PMC members. The Church will also be purchasing dehydrated potatoes that will be used in their humanitarian efforts worldwide.
PMC is a cooperative of Idaho growers who are working together to take a portion of their crop off the market in an effort to reduce supply and improve returns to keep Idaho family farms.
"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.
Four and one-half million pounds will be sorted, washed and bulk-packed for shipment to food banks, homeless shelters, and other humanitarian uses throughout the United States. Church members will be donating their time to wash and pack the potatoes.
Wirthlin said the Church will pay for all packing materials and freight charges to the potatoes' ultimate destination. Once arriving at their destination, Church members on the receiving end will help in the effort to place the potatoes in the hands of those organizations needing food assistance. Initial use by the Church will be 110 semi-truck loads (42,000 pounds per load) of fresh potatoes.
The remaining 12 million pounds will be processed at five of the major dehydration facilities in eastern Idaho. The dehydrated potatoes will be stored and used in humanitarian efforts worldwide during the coming year.