As the Florida Keys began reopening after Hurricane Irma, returning residents were warned they had to be self-sufficient and had to figure out how to take care of their own needs, fending for themselves without food, water, power or other essential necessities.
Enter Farm Share.
The Homestead-based nonprofit dispatched two tractor-trailer trucks, carrying 88,000 pounds of food, water, ice, diapers, batteries and other essentials to meet the immediate needs not only of returning residents but also the linemen restoring power to the devastated chain of islands.
In the past week, Farm Share trucks have crisscrossed the state, distributing more than 1 million pounds of food to areas where it was needed most, from Jacksonville to Immokalee. Lawmakers throughout the state have been coordinating with Farm Share to advise them of where their resources are most needed. Over the weekend, Reps. Bryan Avila and Jose Felix Diaz helped distribute supplies in their respective districts in the Miami area, and Rep. Holly Raschein and Sen. Anitere Flores joined forces Monday to assist those in Key Largo, one of the areas that were hit hardest by Irma.
Farm Share began as a simple idea 27 years ago, when one woman, Patricia Robbins, saw the volume of produce going to waste simply because it wasn’t pretty enough for the supermarket produce aisle. She then realized that hunger in Florida was largely a problem of logistics.
Robbins tackled that problem by leveraging the generosity of Florida farmers and enlisting the help and support of the Florida Legislature. Now, Farm Share annually collects and distributes more than 52 million pounds of food at no charge to small charitable programs that feed some of the neediest Floridians.
If you are among the many Floridians who were largely spared from Irma’s wrath and want to help those hardest hit, help Farm Share keep trucks running by texting “EAT” to 41444. With every $1 donated, Farm Share can donate 10-15 pounds of food, enough to feed a family of four.