Mormon church to distribute excess spuds

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2001

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (AP) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it will help Idaho potato growers distribute 16 million pounds of surplus tubers to needy people in the United States and abroad.

The church will use its packing facilities near Idaho Falls to receive, wash and sort potatoes donated by Potato Management Co. growers.

Church members also will purchase dehydrated potatoes for use worldwide.

''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.

Volunteers will sort, wash and pack 4.5 million pounds of potatoes to be shipped to food banks and homeless shelters throughout the United States. The remaining 12 million pounds will be processed at five dehydration facilities in eastern Idaho to be stored for humanitarian efforts.

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