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Jets Band bags 14,000 pounds of potatoes for needy

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MADISON – Following up on a project last year, band members at James Clemens High School volunteered to bag 14,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, destined for hungry families in Madison/Huntsville area.

The idea debuted in 2015 when band alumna Kaitlynn Krupp organized the event as a part of her Girl Scout Gold Award. “Kaitlynn left all the information with the directors, Keith Anderson and Stuart Tankesley, so it could become a yearly event,” band publicist Amy Gormley said.

Society of St. Andrew organizes ‘crop drops’ by gleaning, or harvesting leftover produce from fields. The ‘gleaned’ vegetables are delivered for a ‘drop,’ where volunteers bag the produce for local food pantries and kitchens.

Mary Lynn Botts of Madison volunteers for St. Andrew and often organizes ‘drops.’

Band members worked on their ‘day off’ between two weeks of summer camp to prepare their marching shows.

Anderson handled logistics before the drop. However, “both band directors were in the middle of it all morning,” Gormley said. “They shoveled potatoes, bagged them and helped load trucks. They both jumped in to do whatever was needed with the students.”

Band members started begging at 7:30 a.m. and were finished by 9 a.m. By 11 a.m., trucks were loaded. Each bag held five to seven pounds of sweet potatoes.

More than half of the 14,000 pounds will remain in Madison and Limestone counties. Manna House, Downtown Rescue Mission and Inside Out Ministries were among 12 local agencies to accept potatoes. Groups from the Shoals and Cullman also took produce.

“I didn’t mind getting hot and dirty. It was for a good cause. It doesn’t matter if you get hot or dirty — it’s just about the outcome that comes from what we did,” Gormley said.

Matthew Joens, James Clemens junior and Jets Band member, said, “I believe that most kids in the band realize that many people are hungry in our community. Otherwise, we would not have had such a good turn out and such dedication to help our community.”

 

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