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.
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.
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.
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
Olympic Stadium, Hoquiam
Set-up at 9a/Distribution 10a
Potatoes available: 20,000 lb
Ocean Shores Convention Center
Set-up at 9:30a/Distribution 10a-12p