Washington State Potato Farmers Help Feed the Hungry

MOSES LAKE, Wash., Nov. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- While the nation's economy continues to struggle, those who operate Eastern Washington's bountiful potato farms are helping efficient food banks make sure families in need -- especially those with children or seniors -- don't go to bed hungry.

This fall, two generous Washington state potato farms in the Columbia Basin have donated over 100 tons of fresh potatoes directly from the field to Second Harvest in Spokane.

For the third year in a row, the Vertically Integrated Partnership including Hirai Farms, Annie's Fun, Sodexo and McCain Foods have partnered to provide Second Harvest over 100,000 pounds of potatoes and several hundred Thanksgiving meals in support of Tom's Turkey Drive (http://www.krem.com/news/100000-pounds-of-potatoes-donated-to-Toms-Turkey-Drive-106635803.html).

Led by KREM 2 television's weatherman Tom Sherry and the KREM 2 team, Tom's Turkey Drive is a food drive and fundraiser that helps thousands of local families and seniors across eastern Washington who can't afford a Thanksgiving dinner.

On a related note, in September and October, Friehe Farms in Moses Lake delivered 27,000 lbs of russets to Second Harvest's warehouse in Spokane, while Hirai Farms in Quincy and the Vertically Integrated Partnership delivered over 60,000 pounds of russets to Second Harvest.

Additionally, the Washington State Potato Commission provided 15,000 unprinted plastic bags so volunteers could package the bulk spuds for the holiday meals.

Last year's 10th annual turkey drive raised 11,092 turkey dinners complete with fixings to feed families throughout Spokane County.

"We are very grateful to the potato farmers in Eastern Washington such as Hirai Farms and Friehe Farms who have been very generous with their donations, which are a wonderful and nutritious staple for hungry families and seniors," said Jason Clark, executive director of Second Harvest. "These donations mean so much at a time when we have seen a dramatic increase in those seeking assistance." For more information about the recent potato donations, please contact Karen Bonaudi of the Washington State Potato Commission at 509-765-8845, Rod Wieber of Second Harvest at 509-252-6259, or Blaine Hirai of Hirai Farms and the Vertically Integrated Partnership at 509-693-7811.

About Second Harvest Founded in 1971 as a central warehouse for a handful of emergency food pantries in Spokane, Second Harvest is the pioneering organization that leads the fight against hunger in the Inland Northwest. Today, partnerships with 275 neighborhood food banks and meal centers make it possible for Second Harvest to provide food to thousands of hungry people each week. Second Harvest's food bank network spans 21 counties in Eastern Washington and five counties in North Idaho - just over 51,000 square miles. Second Harvest distributes more than 1.5 million pounds of donated food each month throughout its vast service area.

Second Harvest's food helps fill the nutritional gap for people in poverty, the working poor, elderly and disabled people on very low fixed incomes, and children and families in temporary crisis.

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SOURCE Washington State Potato Commission www.prnewswire.com Copyright (C) 2010 PR Newswire. All rights reserved -0- KEYWORD: Washington INDUSTRY KEYWORD: AGR