Dinner tables all across Warren County will be filled with dozens of different takes on sweet potato dishes this week.
The United Way of West Central Mississippi coordinated with with Extra Table, a non-profit organization that provides food pantries and soup kitchens with healthy food, to give away a literal truckload — 44,000 pounds in all — of sweet potatoes to Warren County residents over the weekend.
Extra Table had received more sweet potatoes than they could use in a timely fashion, District 5 Supervisor, Kelle Barfield said. In an effort to not waste food and get it into the hands of people who need it, the potatoes were brought to Vicksburg,
On Friday an 18-wheeler pulled into Vicksburg loaded down with 44,000 pounds of sweet potatoes. The potatoes were then divided and distributed to different community groups who set up sites around town where anyone was welcome to root for the vegetables.
Following the 18-wheeler’s arrival in the River City, Winky Freeman, who is a member at First Baptist Church Vicksburg, said he, along with other locals lined up in their trucks for the sweet potatoes.
On Saturday, Freeman brought his thousand-pound load of potatoes to the FBCV church parking lot, where he said he had had quite a few folks come by to get them.
“All 44,000 were spoken for,” Freeman said.
Maxine Graham, who was at FBCV to take advantage of the free sweet potatoes, said a friend told her about the giveaway.
As Graham was putting potatoes in her bag, she shared that candied yams are her favorite sweet potato dish. And when asked if she had a particular recipe she goes by, she said, “I just make it up as I go.”
On Monday, a drive-thru sweet potato giveaway site was set up at the Vicksburg Community Garden located off U.S. 61 South.
The Warren County Supervisors also had sweet potatoes available on Monday, at a site on Lee Road and at the Culkin Fire Station.
While tasty, sweet potatoes are also nutritious and loaded with vitamins.
Sweet potatoes can help prevent Vitamin A deficiency, help manage diabetes and stress levels. They contain anti-inflammatory activity, help protect, prevent and manage cancer, are good for digestion and can help regulate blood pressure, just to name a few. They can be prepared dozens of ways and are a popular side dish, particularly with holiday meals.