Volunteers needed to bag green beans to feed hungry
by Eddie Burkhalter
Sep 12, 2013 | 3382 views |  0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers pick and pack green beans for the homeless at Grace Baptist Church in Oxford in 2012. Photo by Stephen Gross.
Volunteers pick and pack green beans for the homeless at Grace Baptist Church in Oxford in 2012. Photo by Stephen Gross.
Saturday morning will be the second year that thousands of pounds of green beans will be dumped in front of Grace Baptist Church in Oxford, where they’ll be sorted and bagged by volunteers before being distributed by local food-assistance agencies.

The green bean drop is organized by the Society of St. Andrew, a nationwide hunger-relief organization, in partnership with the Food Bank of North Alabama. The idea is to save produce that would have gone to waste, said Mary Lynn Botts, Society of St. Andrew program coordinator for Alabama.

The 12,000 or so pounds of green beans will come from a farmer in Crossville, Tenn., who cannot sell beans that are too short, too long or broken to grocery stores.

“The beans would normally be collected in a dump truck and taken to the landfill,” Botts said.

Those green beans will supply about 60,000 servings, and the need to help feed the hungry in Alabama is great, Botts said, explaining that many families in the state do not know where their next meal will come from.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report last week that ranked Alabama as fourth-worst in food security, which the agency describes as a person’s ability to access quality foods. In Alabama, 17.9 percent of residents experienced food insecurity in the last three years.

“We’ve got a high need in our area, and the folks who are at risk don’t often get fresh foods,” Botts said.

Local food assistance agencies that will distribute the beans are the Piedmont Benevolence Center, All Saints Interfaith Center of Concern, 2nd Chance, the Community Enabler Developer, Love One Million Ways, Word Alive International Outreach and the Isaiah House Food Ministry.

Volunteers can show up Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Grace Baptist Church is at 2018 Hinton Drive in Oxford. Those wishing to help are encouraged to bring folding chairs. Organizers will provide sunscreen and water. In the event of rain, the bagging will take place Sept. 21.

If enough volunteers show, the sorting and bagging could be done in about two hours, Botts said, “and you’ll feel like you’ve really helped your fellow man.”

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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