TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Washington state farmers will give away more than 200,000 pounds of potatoes at the Tacoma Dome on Thursday as part of a mission to get 1 million pounds of potatoes into the hands of people in need.

The News Tribune reports the potatoes were meant to be sold to restaurants and other food service establishments but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"With so many restaurants closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, our potato farmers have storages full of these potatoes that were scheduled to be turned into french fries, tater tots, hash browns and many other frozen potato products," a group of Washington state potato farmers said in a press release Monday.

"Our farmers and their families recognize that they are not the only ones suffering financially, and they have the potatoes in their storage sheds that can feed so many."

The Washington State Potato Commission has coordinated with local volunteers at the Tacoma Dome, the City of Tacoma and Emergency Food Network to help hand out the bags of potatoes. Bags will be loaded right into vehicles.

Local food banks can pick up pallets of potatoes by calling the Potato Commission at 509-765-8845 or emailing office@potatoes.com. A GoFundMe set up to support the Washington Potato Growers Commission has already collected $28,000.

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