This past Saturday, residents in the West Jackson community came together to beautify the area and help those in need. Pecan Park Neighborhood Association hosted its annual Community Clean-up day and the Center for University-Based Development at JSU hosted its annual Crop Drop event, giving away 20,000 pounds of sweet potatoes.
Both events took place from 7:00 am to noon, with a clear sky and cool breeze, weather could not have been more perfect.
Pecan Park had dozens of residents participate in the clean up day. Many elderly residents were unable to take their debris to the large dumpsters that were located on the corner of Alta Vista and Central Streets. However there were young folks involved from Jim Hill and Provine High Schools that helped transport the debris from homes to the dumpsters. By the end of the day, the neighborhood had gathered trash, tree limes, and other items that filled 3 dumpsters!
The event, sponsored by the Center for University-based Development (CUBD) at JSU, Blue Key Honor Society, and the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service and Engaged Learning, started early and by noon all potatoes were gone. JSU student volunteers hoisted and placed sacks of the produce into a long line of vehicles that had formed throughout the morning in the parking lot adjacent to Jackson Public Schools’ Blackburn Laboratory Middle School near the JSU campus.
The potatoes were donated by a farmer from Vardaman, Mississippi to the nonprofit charitable organization St. Andrew. Its mission is to help feed America’s hungry.
Dozens of JSU students worked diligently and laboriously as they packed 10-pound bags for patrons.
This year students served over 1,000 community residents who drove up to get a bag of sweet potatoes. There were also several community residents that walked over with their familes to get the potatoes and one resident rode his bike to pick up his bag.
Once the event was over, there were several sick and shut-in individuals who were unable to come to the Crop Drop, however community partners such as Pecan Park and CUBD gathered addresses of those in need and were able to drop off a bag of potatoes to them. Over 30 individuals in the neighborhood had requested a bag of sweet potatoes.
Mrs. Margie Cunningham was a neighbor that had her potatoes dropped off. She said she just loves sweet potatoes and makes them all kinds of ways. She will put them in stews, bake them, make pies, and when she was little, she would eat them raw. She was truly appreciative that her neighbors thought of her and was able to bring her sweet potatoes.
Please see pictures below of the Clean-Up Day and the Crop Drop.