Thrivent Financial Emerald Coast Group hosted its annual Crop Drop Nov. 23 at Grace Lutheran Church in Destin. 



A special thank you goes to the Society of St. Andrew in Orlando for organizing and locating fresh produce from farmers in south Florida and Mississippi.



Members of the Emerald Coast community came from across the three county area to participate. The day consisted of unloading a semi-truck filled to the top with 40,000 pounds of fresh corn, cucumbers and watermelon. As an added bonus, there were also cases of frozen French fries donated by Steak ‘n Shake.



Next up was a semi-trailer filled with 48,000 pounds of sweet potatoes. Hearing the crowd cheer, as the semi’s trailer tilted back to dump the load of potatoes, was exhilarating.  



We had a record turn out this year with 329 volunteers showing up to be the “Hands and feet of Jesus.” These wonderful people, ranging from toddlers to retirees, worked tirelessly to bag, sort and load 88,000 pounds of fresh produce to bless others in our community.



It was a scene like no other: men, women and children from different cities, different backgrounds, different ethnicities and different church denominations … all coming together for the greater good of helping others.



In addition to these volunteers there were also volunteers from 33 local food banks/agencies that came to pick up the food and deliver to the families in their areas. Our combined efforts helped to feed more than 6,000 local families in need this Thanksgiving.



Special thanks to The Grace Foundation for helping sponsor the event along with Thrivent Financial. The day was complete with breakfast and lunch also, thanks to Donut Hole, Shake’s Destin and the kitchen volunteers who worked diligently to help sustain all of our hard workers to complete the task at hand.



We also most certainly appreciate the donations and help from Ariel Seafood, Rhodes Auto Repair, Sharing Hands Network and Grace Lutheran Church. Without loving, selfless volunteers and sponsors, this event would not have been possible. All glory, honor and praise to God for the success of the 2013 Crop Drop.



Tara Hearn is the community event coordinator for Emerald Coast Group, Thrivent Financial for Luetherans.