Free potatoes given away locally at 4 events Friday-Sunday

The closure of schools and restaurants under the coronavirus pandemic has created a surplus of potatoes statewide, and farmers are looking for ways to ensure their crops do not go to waste.

Following other events in Washington, most notably recently at the Tacoma Dome, where potatoes were given away to the public, Port Angeles Port Commissioner Commissioner Connie Beauvais worked with the Washington Potato Council, the Washington Truckers Association, and other groups to organize events on the northern Olympic Peninsula.

Following those successful giveaways, Beauvais said she saw that Grays Harbor had not seen a similar event and worked with partners to organize the local giveaways.

The WA Potato Council had made one billion pounds of potatoes available to the public if they would pick them up. 

“Some communities picked up dump truck loads of potatoes and told the public to bring bags and boxes and pick them up off the ground.  I felt that we could do better for our small communities on the Peninsula.  As a result, with this shipment, here are the players. 

Beauvais personally paid for the washing, processing, bagging and palletizing of 40,000 pounds of potatoes that the WA Potato Council donated, with Wilson Logistics donating trucking from Moses Lake to Grays Harbor, packaging from Desert Ridge Packaging, and an Aberdeen company donated warehouse space to be stored until the events.

“As a Port Commissioner with the Port of Port Angeles I have taken the opportunity to put some broken links together.  Every single one of us have been affected some way by COVID19.  This is my contribution to communities to put unused potatoes into the hands of anyone who can use them and to have community outreach to make that happen.”

The potatoes have been bagged, again paid for by Beauvais, into 10 lb packages and brought to the area for free distribution to the public, with two bags being given to families at other sites.

According to Beauvais, volunteers are needed for the giveaways. They are being asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to the events and anyone looking to assist is being asked to arrive with a face covering.

Leftover potatoes that are not collected are being slated to be dispersed to local food banks.

Friday, June 19

McCleary City Hall, 100 S 3rd

Set-up at 9a/Distribution 10a-12p

Potatoes available: 5,000 lb

Grays Harbor Fairgrounds, Elma

Set-up at 2p/Distribution 3-5p

Potatoes available: 5,000 lb

Saturday, June 20

Olympic Stadium, Hoquiam

Set-up at 9a/Distribution 10a

Potatoes available: 20,000 lb

Sunday, June 21

Ocean Shores Convention Center

Set-up at 9:30a/Distribution 10a-12p

Potatoes available: 5,000 lb