“Anyone coming by won’t be able to leave without any potatoes,” Cindy Mighton and Coral Byrd quipped outside the Quesnel Community Living Association (QCLA).
On Monday, June 13, 66,000 pounds of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) potatoes were being offloaded by forklift operator Joshua Duris with Parallel Welding, Fabrication Ltd.
The potatoes were secured by the Quesnel GreenHope Society, which works with Second Harvest, a Canadian food rescue charity rescuing surplus food before it ends up in the landfill.
“Second Harvest was fortunate enough to get a donation of a million pounds of potatoes from the federal government that purchased the potatoes from P.E.I.,” Mighton said.
Normally, the potatoes would have been sold in the United States.
Shipments, however, were temporarily suspended until earlier this spring due to wart fungus, a soil-borne fungus that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says reduces yield and makes potatoes unmarketable but poses no risk to human health or food safety.
“We see firsthand that there’s a lot of hunger in Quesnel, and we worry about it because we have a lot of people that have to get repeat hampers which isn’t ideal,” Mighton said, adding the GreenHope Society hopes to open a drop-in food bank.
The P.E.I. potatoes arrived by truck from Toronto and came pre-packaged in 10 and 20-pound bags.
They will be available at the QCLA until gone.
“We have so many hungry people,” Byrd said, noting the GreenHope Society will be sending a truckload of potatoes to Wells, Nazko, McLeese Lake and Hixon.
“On Tuesday (June 14), we’ll open it to the community, so there will be potatoes for everybody and anybody.”
Among the not-for-profit groups picking up potatoes on Monday was the Quesnel Tillicum Society. Executive director Tony Goulet arrived with a pickup and said they would share the potatoes at their society and use them for their programs and upcoming events.
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