(Oct. 30, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) The Washington State Potato Commission, Moses Lake, is asking local children to help food banks fight hunger.

“We were contacted by the governor (Christine Gregoire) and asked if we would be willing to help fill food banks,” said commission executive administrative assistant Brittany Gies.

The commission sent out more than 50 letters to churches and schools for volunteers to gather potatoes after the harvest of participating potato growers, Gies said.

Crestview Christian School, Moses Lake, had more than 30 volunteers, including students, teachers, parents and grandparents, harvesting at Gies Farms Inc. They gathered more than 1,300 pounds of potatoes, which were delivered to the Moses Lake Food Bank, Gies said.

Phi Kappa Theta international honor society members from Big Bend Community College, Moses Lake, joined faculty and staff at Jensen Farm Produce, Warden, where they gleaned 1,100 pounds of potatoes from the fields, Gies said.

“Feedback has been good,” Gies said. “(The food banks) have been very appreciative of our help. From the community volunteers to the growers, everyone’s been more than willing to help.”

Other potato growers and processors who contributed were: Paul Morris, of Morris Farms, Ephrata, which donated 6,000 pounds; Ann Van Dyke of Blakal Packaging, Quincy, who donated 2,500 pounds; Doug Moore of Diamond M Inc., Ephrata, and AJ Ochoa of the Ochoa Corp., Moses Lake, who offered their fields for gleaning.

The majority of the potatoes gathered went to the Moses Lake Food Bank, which serves more than 1,400 families a month.