We are thrilled to announce that The Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation has awarded the Environmental Stewardship and Energy Sustainability grant to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee for our sweet potato rescue initiative. The $100,000 grant will fund the distribution of 320,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to individuals and families struggling with hunger through Second Harvest’s partner agencies across Middle Tennessee.
We work with local farmer Matt West at West Farms to pull potatoes from the harvest that do not meet size and shape standards set by large commercial buyers. The irregular shape does not compromise nutritional value, and without a secondary market, these sweet potatoes otherwise may be discarded.
“We’re excited to partner with Second Harvest on this initiative that not only supports the community’s health and wellness, but promotes sustainable business practices at the same time,” said Stephen Francescon, community relations manager for Piedmont Natural Gas.
To celebrate the award, about 25 Piedmont employees volunteered their time today bagging the rescued sweet potatoes to distribute to those in need. The team worked hard and sorted through nearly 13,000 lbs!
“This project ensures more healthy food will be destined to feed the one in six Tennesseans struggling with hunger,” says Jaynee Day, president & CEO at Second Harvest.
Along with the purchase of sweet potatoes, the grant will also be used to print recipe cards to be distributed with the sweet potatoes, perform several mobile cooking demonstrations and replace their natural gas grill at their Culinary Arts Center.
We are so grateful for Piedmont’s support to further increase our mission to feed hungry people.