If it’s November, it’s time for the annual Crop Drop Destin.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Nov. 17 at Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive, volunteers will sort, bag and distribute produce to agencies that will help feed more than 6,000 families this Thanksgiving.
Over the past 10 years, Crop Drop volunteers have sorted, bagged and distributed hundreds of thousands of pounds of unsold produce to feed families in need. The volunteers place more than 80,000 pounds of produce into family-size bags that are then loaded into agency vehicles to be transported to food pantries, homeless shelters, and church dispensaries across the Panhandle. More than 50 agencies from across Walton, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties collect and distribute the bagged produce from Crop Drop that feeds an estimated 6,000 families (24,000 individuals) each and every year.
“We are still collecting canned goods as well for Harvest House,” said David Saviola, spokesman for Crop Drop Destin. “We did consider shifting the entire event east, but recognized that in some ways the local needs have also increased due to relocations.”
In years past, they have struggled to transport the thousands of bags of produce to the agencies in a timely manner. This year they are asking for residents to bring a wheelbarrow with them and take it home when you leave.
Also this year, there will be a special Hurricane Michael relief effort.
“In addition to what we’ve done in the past, this year we are adding an opportunity for volunteers to help with our neighbors to the east,” Saviola said. “We have acquired an extra 40,000 pounds of produce, as well as pantry food and other supplies for approximately 1,000 households. In cooperation with the Church of Destin and Thrivent Financial, we are returning to the Bayou George neighborhoods to take these supplies and clear debris. Many of the debris clearing crews I have talked to are backed up several weeks, so we hope to make a dent in that with this large crew on the 17th.”
Plan for a full day, but you will be able to leave on your own anytime.
Thrivent Financial started the Crop Drop in 2009 and has hosted it every year. Numerous people from all over the area join in to assist in this program of goodwill during the Thanksgiving season.
Young and old, families, non-profit organizations, bystanders, clubs, and many other groups of people all come together to work like a well-oiled machine. Lift, sort, pack, move, load, haul, and drive the produce including potatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, corn and everything in between. The volunteers’ hard work benefits large groups of those less fortunate families and people who need food.
For registration and more information, visit www.cropdrop.org, their Facebook page Crop Drop Destin, or call 850-586-0585.