IMPERIAL — The food banks here and in Yuma have received more than 80,000 pounds of surplus Washington potatoes with the assistance of two agricultural service companies.
The Dune Company of Imperial Valley and Yuma-based Gowan company donated transportation of the spuds from Moses Lake, Wash., nearly 1,300 miles away, to the Imperial Valley Food Bank and the Yuma Community Food Bank.
IVFB accepted delivery of 17 pallets, equaling 42,500 pounds, in one truckload on Friday. The potatoes were packed in sacks of five, 10-pound bags.
Washington potato growers and the Washington State Potato Commission organized the donation. The potatoes had been scheduled for sale, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, they were in dry storage instead.
IVFB said more than 1 billion pounds of potatoes are not being sold and in storage. This equates to roughly $100 million that growers will not be paid but more importantly will go bad in a few months if not taken out of storage.
The local delivery of potatoes will be given to families in Imperial Valley communities at regular distributions and to local soup kitchens and shelters. IVFB said it expects to distribute the entire of the donation by month’s end.
The food bank reported that in April, it served some 29,000 unduplicated residents in the Imperial Valley. That was an increase from last year’s 22,000.
The food bank partners with 62 agencies and 40 schools to serve Imperial County, reaching all communities from Calexico to Winterhaven, to Salton Sea and Ocotillo.
For more information on the Imperial Valley Food Bank and its programs, call (760) 370-0966.