April 18, 2019  

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USM Sweet Potato Drop Set for Oct. 16 to Raise Awareness of Food Waste, Hunger

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The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) at The University of Southern Mississippi is hosting a Sweet Potato Drop on Tuesday, Oct. 16 to address and raise awareness about food insecurity in the Pine Belt area. 

An 18-wheeler loaded with sweet potatoes will deposit approximately 20,000 pounds of sweet potatoes onto the paved area between USM’s Cook Library and Centennial Green. On Oct. 16, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., volunteers are invited to bag the sweet potatoes into individual family-sized sacks, which will be donated to several local organizations, including Edwards Street Fellowship Center, The Salvation Army of Hattiesburg, USM’s Eagle Nest Food Pantry, and Christian Services. 

The drop is arranged through The Society of St. Andrew, which salvages produce that is rejected by commercial markets because of slight imperfections in size, shape, sugar content, or surface blemishes.

“The Sweet Potato Drop is a great on-campus opportunity for students to come together and do service while also learning about food insecurity in our area,” said Christy Arrazattee, director of CCE. “It’s amazing to see such a large number of sweet potatoes in one place and then know that they are going out to families in our community.”

The USM Office of Sustainability will be on hand during the drop to provide educational materials regarding food waste. Food waste is the highest component of landfills, which in turn are the largest contributors of methane emissions. The Sweet Potato Drop is held as part of USM’s Campus Sustainability Month and also as part of USM Homecoming activities.

“I am excited that the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Center for Civic Engagement are partnering once again for the 2018 Sweet Potato Drop,” said McKenna Stone, SGA president. “By hosting this service event during Homecoming Week, our students will have the opportunity to feed and give back to our local community. The Golden Eagle family extends farther than the USM campuses!”

For more information, contact Christy Arrazattee, director of CCE, at cce@usm.edu or by phone at 601-266-6467.