ANTIGO, Wis.—Hurricane Sandy victims have a healthy meal coming their way thanks to the Wisconsin potato industry. Four growers and one shipping company are donating a total of 80,000 lbs. of potatoes to the East Coast to those who still have limited and non-existent resources. The two semi-trucks both hold 20 pallets of potatoes that weigh about 2,000 lbs. each. Both trucks carry a market value of $40,000.
After leaving Wisconsin, the trucks will travel to a warehouse called City Harvest in Long Island City, N.Y. From there, volunteers from the food rescue organization give out the potatoes to many who are still without power and need help. Since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast on Oct. 29, City Harvest has donated more than 3 million lbs. of food to about 600 soup kitchens, food pantries and churches, and continues to help people in the hardest-hit areas like Staten Island.
John Hein of Sowinski Farms in Rhinelander came up with the donation idea. He says he hopes these potatoes provide several meals to those who are working hard to return to “normalcy.”
“Someday, our area may need the same kind of assistance, so it’s nice to be able to help,” Hein says.
Monetary donations from four Wisconsin-based groups are paying for the freight costs: Ansay and Associates in Neenah, Wis,; Grace Fellowship in Bryant, Wis.; the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) in Antigo, Wis; Sowinski Trucking, LLC, in Rhinelander, Wis. Sowinski Trucking, LLC is also providing the trucks and drivers.