Every year Harnett County 4-H (part of the Harnett County Cooperative Extension) hosts a sweet potato gleaning as a part of the North Carolina 4-H Hungry to Help Campaign to fight hunger across North Carolina. At last year’s event, 20,000 pounds of sweet potatoes were gleaned, of which 12, 000 pounds were donated to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina that serves 34 counties in North Carolina and the remaining 8,000 pounds were delivered to local food banks in Harnett County. This event positively impacts communities in North Carolina where, according to Feeding America, 18.3% of all residents and 1 in 4 children (26.7%) are food insecure.
This year’s event, which will take place on a Saturday morning in late September or early October (exact date to be determined based on weather and harvest times), is sure to provide Harnett County residents and local pantries with an abundance of delicious and nutritious locally grown sweet potatoes. Brian Parrish and Jackie Helton from the Harnett County Cooperative Extension are organizing the event in collaboration with a local sweet potato farmer who allows event volunteers to glean his field to support the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and local Harnett County food pantries. If you would like more information on gleaning or if you are a food pantry who would like to receive some of the gleaned sweet potatoes, please contact Jackie Helton (4-H Agent with the Harnett County Cooperative Extension) at 910-814-6027 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell Jackie you want to be added to the sweet potato gleaning listserve so you don’t miss this fun event or the sweet potatoes!