Blackfeet Nation receives 20 tons of potatoes in wake of winter emergencies

March 27, 2018

Submitted by Pastor Vickie Kintzel
Intentional Interim Pastor, Center and Saguache United Methodist churches


Pictured above: Pastor Calvin Hill of Blackfeet United Methodist Parish with one of the truck drivers that drove the potatoes from Colorado to Montana.

More than 20 tons of southern Colorado potatoes recently made a 24-hour truck trip to northwest Montana in response to the area’s ongoing humanitarian needs. Due to the brutal winter weather and resulting isolation, a plea came out through Rocky Mountain Conference communication channels on Feb. 27 for firewood, food, and other much-needed items. Thousands of brothers and sisters were in dire need.

Part of this specific request was potatoes.

Saguache County, Colorado is not a wealthy area. There is significant local need, and a high poverty rate. The area does have a high volume, however, of both potatoes and kind-hearted people. Some questioned the stewardship of shipping potatoes such a long distance. But when it was learned that no potatoes had been sent from any other area, the Holy Spirit got to work in and around Center, Colorado. 

A partnership developed among Center United Methodist Church, Saguache UMC, UMCOR, and local potato growers to put together this response. The two small rural congregations (averaging weekly worship less than forty between them) pledged and raised $1,500 – each – for this outreach on a single Sunday.

Gratitude is due to the extra effort of the truck dispatcher and local growers. This includes the shipping facility and the driver team from Miami, who not only took on this long haul in winter weather, but also granted a reduction in price.

The potatoes were transported 1,100 miles in just over 24 hours to a warehouse in Browning, MT. From there they will be distributed to locations on and around the Blackfeet Nation and town on the edge of Glacier National Park, as the road and weather conditions allow.

There is an ongoing need for firewood, meat, and more potatoes – after these are consumed.

Contact the local churches at umcofcenter@gmail.com or phone at 719-754-2243. You may also contact Yellowstone Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, Pastor Dawn Skerritt, at pastordawn.cfumc@gmail.com.

Read about Blackfeet Nation Winter Storm Relief