Resident honors wife’s memory with project to fill food banks

Resident honors wife’s memory with project to fill food banks
Jim and Beth Masters work with Master Gardeners Debra McEachin and Coleen Foucht to fill bags of potatoes for local food banks.

Nearly four dozen volunteers representing nine groups gathered early on June 2 at Trinity Lutheran Church, at the corner of Park Street and McDuff Avenue, to bag 12,500 pounds of potatoes for 13 area food banks and agencies.

The event, the 1st Annual Neena Eisenberg Potato Drop, was organized by Sam Eisenberg, whose wife of 66 years, Cornelia “Neena,” passed away March 4. Members of Avondale United Methodist Church for 24 years, the couple had been involved with the Society of St Andrew since 2002, helping glean unneeded harvests for use by local food banks. Sam, who is a member of the Men’s Garden Club, wanted to honor his wife’s memory by establishing what he hopes will become an annual event.

The potatoes, along with some lemons and some onions, came from UF Test Field (IFAS) in Hastings and from Feeding Northeast Florida, and were delivered in nine bins to Trinity’s parking lot the evening prior. After getting bagged in 3-lb. and 10-lb. plastic bags, the produce was picked up by food agencies who had committed to receiving the potatoes, including the Trinity Food Bank, which accepted 2,000 pounds’ worth. Eisenberg’s original goal was 40,000 pounds, but there were not enough commitments for that amount.

The Society of St. Andrew was formed in 1979 in Virginia as an intentional community of two families called to life and ministry together in Christ. It has grown into an ecumenical, nonprofit dedicated to leading others into lives of Christian community and service. Since 1983, the Society of St. Andrew has salvaged fresh, nutritious produce from American farms – produce that otherwise would be left to rot – and delivered it to agencies across the nation that serve the poor.

“When you go out into a field and look at the amount of stuff in the field and know tomorrow they’re going to plow it under, it’s sickening, especially when you think about the number of people who are going hungry in America,” said Larry Rood, Northeast Florida area coordinator for the Society of St. Andrew. “Our goal is to lower the number of pounds that are going to be plowed under and to lower the number of people who aren’t going to get food.”

The volunteering groups were primarily local churches, including Trinity, Avondale United Methodist Church, Christ Church, Family Church, Celebration Church, and City Bible Church, as well as the Master Gardeners from UF, the Men’s Garden Club, and employees from United HealthCare. For more information about the Society of St. Andrew, visit endhunger.org.


By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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