Kim David, assistant director of Student Development at Oxford College, and her 4-year-old daughter Stella recently released a book called, “Stella the Sweet Potato’s Amazing Journey,” to raise money for future Potato Drop projects in Newton County. (Photo courtesy of Richard David)
OXFORD — An Oxford preschooler is already making a big impact in local community service.
After helping her mom out in a local service project last year, 4-year-old Stella David became the inspiration for a book that will raise money for the project this year.
Kim David, assistant director of Student Development at Oxford College, along with her daughter, have released a children’s picture book to raise money for the Potato Drop.
The Potato Drop is an event that began in Newton County a few years ago, providing more than 40,000 pounds of potatoes to the local community through churches, shelters, pantries and local nonprofits.
Oxford College held a Potato Drop about five years ago and again last year and decided to make it an annual event for Global Youth Service Day, usually a Saturday in April.
Last year, more than 100 students and community members participated in the event, providing produce to 12 different organizations in Newton, Rockdale, Walton and Henry counties. The Department of Juvenile Justice, the Academy of Liberal Arts Newton High School and some local businesses and churches were among the volunteers. Locally, the project is an Oxford College one, but it is in partnership with the Society of St. Andrew that has drops all over the country. More information is available at www.endhunger.org.
“The Society of St. Andrew provides the sweet potatoes to us at no charge but we provide the funds to help with freight and packaging,” David said. “The sweet potatoes are gleaned from the fields after all the ones suitable for grocery stores and restaurants are gathered.”
Sometimes food drops may include green beans, onions and cabbage, or whatever is available at the time, David added.
The picture book, named “Stella the Sweet Potato’s Amazing Journey,” is the story of a sweet potato that is first rejected by the commercial grocery stores and is picked up by volunteers, based on the Potato Drop project.
The book came about after Stella, who is in preschool at the First United Methodist Church of Covington, participated in the drop in April.
“Stella was the inspiration for the book,” David said. “I took a conversation I had with her in trying to explain what the potato drop was to a 4-year and used that along with her responses. Many of the quotes are words that Stella used as we were going through the book.”
The 30-page book is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
All of the royalties from sales of the book will be donated to provide future Potato Drop opportunities in Newton County. Oxford College is planning to host the next Potato Drop on Saturday, April 12, 2014 and hopes to raise $4,000 to assist with the cost of freight and packaging.
David said she is looking for community volunteers to assist again this year.
“It will be our Global Youth Service Day project so we really encourage youth groups, schools and families to be involved,” she said. “The Potato Drop is a great a project for families because bagging the potatoes is so easy to do. Stella assisted with putting the loose potatoes in the bags, loading the wagons and carrying some of the bags to the trucks.”