Patricia Robbins had a vision others agreed was important, but most could not imagine the sheer scope of future results. Having known financial hardship in her youth, she drew from her own personal professional success as she set about to establish Farm Share, an organization that has exceeded every expectation in its 28-year history. Their motto, “No person goes hungry; No food goes to waste,” is emblazoned on tee shirts, signature painted trucks, and in the hearts of staff, volunteers, and recipients.
The non-profit, established in 1991, “Partners with more than 2,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, churches and other not for profit agencies throughout Florida to help feed hungry communities and individuals. Last year alone Farm Share distributed more than 55 million pounds of food to more than 17.5 million households residing in Florida’s 67 counties. Of the 55 million pounds of food distributed, more than 20 million pounds were fresh healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables. Farm Share also plays a critical role as a first responder during statewide disaster relief operations such as during hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters.”
Robbins finally decided to take a well-deserved retirement when Stephen
Shelley, who joined the organization in 2016 as Chief Operating Officer (COO), was selected to be the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in July 2019.
Approximately 100 individuals came to the Homestead Farm Share Warehouse
Tuesday, October 29, 2019, to honor her years of selfless dedication and
Chuck (Charles) Hartz, Chairman of the Board, had been with around 50 friends and associates at the Capri restaurant for a luncheon celebration prior to the ceremony. As he said to the audience, “We heard so many great things from people about Patricia.
I’ve been involved in Farm Share almost 28 years and in going through our
transition, Steve [Shelley] is doing a great job.”
Shelley was serving in two roles for the event. “I’m changing to my Mayor
of Homestead hat,” he said, and read the Proclamation from the City citing the many accomplishments of Farm Share and declaring it, “Patricia D. Robbins Day”.
Assistant City Manager Robert Herrada, representing Sweetwater Mayor
Orlando Lopez, read their proclamation as well, and also presented a “Hunger Fighter Honoree Award”. Carmen Krueger, Community Involvement Specialist from Florida Elementary School, spoke their praise before giving a bouquet of flowers and a certificate of appreciation.
In consideration of the afternoon heat, the outdoor segments of unveiling the sign of the, “Patricia D. Robbins Warehouse”, and the official ribbon cutting proceeded quickly. Cold beverages, a cake, and bins of fresh produce to be given to attendees waited inside. Old and new acquaintances chatted.
Reverend Benjamin Stilwell-Hernandez, of First United Methodist Church-Homestead, who had delivered the invocation, was there with Emory and Pam Robertson of the church Food Pantry. As the largest food pantry in Homestead, they’ve been in operation more than a decade and have a close relationship with Farm Share as they still provide food to 500-600 families each week.
Robbins will continue to be available as a consultant and always an advocate for the organization. She took a moment from those waiting for photographs with her or to pass on their thanks. What does she want most for people to understand? “Farm Share is our community effort to feed the hungry in Florida. It takes all our sharing and caring to make it happen.”
More information about how to support Farm Shares and updates about their events and programs can be found at their web site of http://www.farmshare.org