The Faith Lutheran Church held its sixth annual Potato Bake on Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Proceeds from the potato bake went to the American Red Cross Southeastern Oklahoma Chapter.
The money given to the Red Cross will be used to help disaster victims across Bryan County. Lynn Edwards from the Red Cross said the most occurring disasters are single family fires.
The average family with four children will receive approximately $1,000 to aid relief. This comes in the form of a Red Cross cash card. Money is used to buy food, clothes and other essential items.
The event sells about 400 potatoes and raises approximately $3,000 to $4,000 each year with the help of matching donation made by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the Bokchito Masonic Lodge #253.
The Potato Bake was started by Sherry Scavo and Jill Gordon. Gordon had been informed that there were no local fundraisers for the Red Cross.
“We understood at the time there wasn’t funds” said Scavo. The two women decided to start a potato bake to raise money.
The potato bake was held at the Faith Lutheran Church in Durant. Each potato lunch cost $5 and included a potato with cheese, sour cream butter and bacon bits and a cookie.
All food and supplies are donated each year and all labor is volunteer. According to Scavo and Edwards, there were approximately 25 volunteers helping with the event this year.
Volunteers do everything from cooking to delivering the food. Edwards said about half of the sales each year are pre-sales. People can place orders to be delivered to locations around Durant.
“It was so well received in town, everybody expects it” said Edwards. Edwards said it became so popular in fact, that he recommended other Red Cross chapters in Oklahoma.
McAlester hosted its first potato bake this year. Edwards said while it was very successful, the potato bake in Durant is the flagship and collects the most.
The church has tried other fundraisers, such as a garage sale, said church member Judy Starbuck, but it proved to be too labor intensive and did not generate the same funds as the potato bake.
In answer to why the potato was chosen for the event, Edwards said “Everybody likes a baked potato.”