JSU’s Center for University-Based Development and the Society of St. Andrew hosted their popular Crop Drop event on Dec. 18, distributing fresh garden greens and 15,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to the community.
The distribution was timely due to the noted absence of sweet potatoes during the Crop Drop held in September.
“Everyone that came through in the fall was asking about the sweet potatoes,” said Dr. Heather Denne’, executive director for Community Engagement. “When we saw the want and need for sweet potatoes, we did everything we could to try and secure some for this community.”
After a diligent effort, Denne’ was able to procure a large load of sweet potatoes for the December event. Cars could be seen for miles down the parkway, and people arrived as early as 6 a.m. to get the free goodies.
JSU President Thomas Hudson stated, “This is the season of giving, and there is a lot of food insecurities in this area, especially amid a pandemic. It’s essential that we host events like this for the West Jackson community and also for individuals in need.”
Denne shared the importance of providing fresh produce to the community due to the area being a food desert.
“There are not a lot of grocery stores in this area, and a lot of people don’t have access to the ones that we do have. We are also in a pandemic, and people are feeling the financial strain with having to provide food for their families,” Denne’ said. “We just want to lighten the load during this holiday season.”
Due to Covid-19, there were a limited amount of volunteers on-hand to assist with distribution. All volunteers wore gloves, masks and practiced social distancing as a safety precaution for themselves and others.
“We are excited that this event has been such a success each year. It is very humbling, and also kind of sad because when you see the need of others, you want to do even more,” Denne’ added.