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Harvesting for others

Members of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Colfax harvest potatoes on a farm near Fairbury Sunday / CIFN photo.

Members of a local church got their hands dirty Sunday morning as they harvested potatoes to benefit others.

The “Tater Tot” mission of Immanuel Lutheran Church of rural Colfax resulted in around 1,000 pounds of potatoes which will be distributed to area food pantries. Church member Gary Buchs said this was a way to get the children of the church involved with mission work.

“The idea came to me one day that a hands-on mission, where they could be involved with some sweat equity, was something that would have to do with people in need,” he explained.

The idea is nothing new for Buchs, who has been growing potatoes and other vegetables to benefit pantries for a number of years. Immanuel Lutheran has a farmer donate a small plot of ground each year for the project.

“We plant roughly a quarter of an acre or so of potatoes in the spring. The children help plant those,” Buchs said.

Sunday was “God’s Work Our Hands” day for the Lutheran Church, so the local mission project was a perfect fit. An antique plow was donated by Harlan Brucker. Children and adults went up and down the rows to gather potatoes. Buchs refers to it as an event sort of like an Easter egg hunt – only with potatoes.

Food pantries which will benefit from Sunday’s harvest include those in Bloomington, Fairbury, Colfax and even a mission in the Chicago area. Each pound of potatoes is essentially a meal for someone, as it helps individuals in need stretch their budget. Buchs acknowledges those who utilize food pantries may not always be what you expect.

“They are often the working poor with part-time jobs, grandparents raising children and disabled people.”

A listing of local food pantries can be found online. In fact, a nationwide network of food pantries can be viewed through the Bloomington St. Vincent De Paul website. Simply growing one row of vegetables in the spring can help others. Buchs suggests checking with local churches or pantries to see where there is a need.

“It doesn’t have to be a big investment and it doesn’t have to take a large group,” Buchs noted.

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