800+ vehicles loaded with free produce

Rudy Sabo and Ron Westerhouse sat and counted the hundreds of vehicles that wound through a long line on Grand Haven's Harbor Island on Saturday morning. "This has been solid all morning,' Sabo said. Both Grand Haven men are longtime members of the local Eagles Club and two of the more than 80 volunteers who helped out at the Fourth Island Produce Giveaway.
Mark Brooky
Oct 11, 2011


Don Armstrong, the president of Armstrong Potatoes LLC, has been behind the produce giveaway each of last four falls in Grand Haven. He and his wife, Vera, arranged for more than 50 tons of produce to be trucked into Grand Haven and given away on the island Saturday.

“Feeding people is the main thing,” Don said. “And we hope that people who go through here — and we’re giving quite a bit of food away — and if they can’t use it all that they’ll give it to their neighbors or anyone that they know who needs food.”

To see more photos from the event, click here.

The Armstrongs said they were overwhelmed by the number of volunteers on Saturday. It was about twice as many as last year. They credited the warm Indian Summer weather as part of the draw.

Vera Amstrong said the trucks arrived with the produce at around 7 a.m. and they began the giveaway at 9:30. The trucks delivered about 43,000 pounds of potatoes from Ohio, about 40,000 pounds of cabbage and pumpkins from Illinois, and approximately 23,000 pounds of apples from north of Grand Rapids. In addition, 10,000 cans of vegetables and soup were given away.

The first car was in line at 5:30 a.m., Vera said.

More than 800 vehicles went through the production line Saturday, about 100 more than each of the previous years.

The Armstrongs said everything was cleaned up on the island by 2:30 p.m., and what was left over was dropped off at area food pantries, and some potatoes were trucked to a shelter in Lakeview.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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