…..Potatoes! And, white potatoes too! Regardless of the type and the time of year they are harvested, the ministry of the Cleveland County Potato Project has been a sweeeeet blessing to the people of our community.
Co-founded by Doug Sharp, Bill Horn and the Holy Spirit, the Cleveland County Potato Project came into being in order to help feed needy people in Cleveland County. During its first year – 2010 – 30,000 pounds were harvested and everyone thought that was pretty good. The next year 80,000 pounds made up the harvest and the labors have exceeded 160,000 pounds per year on two occasions. The total harvest for the previous 9 years is over 850,000 pounds of white and sweet potatoes all of which were given away, mostly in Cleveland County.
The greatest recipients of potatoes have been Salvation Army, Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association, Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry, and Cecelia Beck ministries, along with other local charities. CCPP does not sell potatoes — they are given as a blessing to folks in need of some good food. The Potato Project is dependent upon donations of time and money to energize the work.
This is actually a program designed to be copied by churches, clubs, organizations, or any group that has an interest in feeding people. Some local groups have been very successful doing this.
Doug Sharp, co-founder, has said, “I estimate we have had 2000 individuals to volunteer to work in the Potato Project. We strongly depend on a small group of devoted people to make this go throughout the year. I think all of our volunteers would tell you they have been blessed by being a part of the CCPP.”
While many pockets of American society may have lost enthusiasm for the plight of the less fortunate, and, though sometimes folks can grow weary of hearing about hunger needs, the heart of the Cleveland County Potato Project beats on to bless our neighbors nearby.
Which is in keeping with God’s expectations expressed through the prophet Micah:
“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8
With what shall I come before the Lord? The answer is quite clear. Show up with another human being at your side — someone for whom you have interceded with justice, love and mercy. This is the way you walk humbly with God.
The volunteers of the Cleveland County Potato Project have just begun their 10th year along this sacred journey! And it has been sweeeeeeet to see!
By Tony Tench with Doug Sharp