“Food, Supplies Go to Hungry, Flood Victims,” Ensign, June 2001, 77
Last fall’s Idaho potato crop was so plentiful that farmers took 10 percent off the market in an attempt to stabilize prices. To eliminate the surplus, farmers had two choices: dump the potatoes on the fields as fertilizer or donate them to charity.
The Potato Management Company growers of Idaho decided to donate 12 million pounds of the surplus to the Church to distribute to the hungry. “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 blessed by the receipt of the mere essentials of life,” said Joe Wirthlin Jr., area director of welfare services.
Volunteers at welfare facilities near Idaho Falls will sort, wash, and pack some 4 million pounds of the potatoes to be shipped to homeless shelters and food banks throughout the United States.
The remaining 8 million pounds will be dehydrated at processing plants in eastern Idaho. The Church will ship some of these dehydrated potatoes to El Salvador and other countries that have recently been affected by disasters. The remainder will be stored for future use.
Assisting Flood Victims
After severe flooding occurred in South America and Africa, the Church helped victims.
In Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, dozens of people were killed and thousands lost their homes when dense rains caused flooding in February and March. The Church sent two containers of food and emergency items to Ecuador, six containers to Bolivia, and seven to Peru. Each container holds some 40,000 pounds of supplies.
Heavy March rains also caused flooding in eastern Africa, displacing more than 400,000 people in Malawi and Mozambique. Fifteen containers of relief items were sent to these countries.