Homestead Rotarians and Roteractors, including  Homestead Mayor and Rotarian Steve Losner worked with Farm Share to distribute groceries to over a thousand households on April 4th.

Homestead Rotarians and Roteractors, including Homestead Mayor and Rotarian Steve Losner worked with Farm Share to distribute groceries to over a thousand households on April 4th.

Homestead-based Farm Share has been in high gear during the pandemic. Since March 1, the non-profit organization distributed nearly 7.9 million pounds of produce.

Farm Share has four food distribution warehouses in Florida; in Homestead, Jacksonville, Quincy near Tallahassee, and a distribution center in Pompano with extra storage at Florida City’s Farmers’ Market. Since the pandemic began, Farm Share hosted or participated in free food deliveries in all 67 Florida counties.

“We run out of food at the end of every distribution,” said CEO Steve Shelley, a Homestead City Councilmember. “Two weeks ago our warehouse was literally empty of dry goods. We had plenty of frozen products, but we were a little concerned. The food is flowing again this week so we’re back in gear.”

Farm Share averaged three to four food distributions per day Monday through Saturday since April 1. At least 4.6 million pounds of that food was produce.

“During this pandemic, all the supply chains are messed up,” said Shelley. “A lot of product normally donated to food banks doesn’t exist because of the demand for it in grocery stores.”

“Government programs are buying up product that would normally go to food banks,” he said. “It caused us to scramble to ensure a constant flow. The season is over now for most of our farmers.”

“The FDA was allocated a total of $850 million in stimulus money for the Emergency Food Assistance program (TEFAT) to feed people affected by the virus,” Shelley said. “That money is going toward dry goods products like beef stew that normally wouldn’t have that type of demand.”

The organization served about 2 million families in April and works with the Florida Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to get some supplies, according to Dennis Maytan Farm Share’s new operations chief. The business runs twenty-three trucks and ten semi-trailers, all refrigerated, to supply food centers.

“Miami-Dade County and the County Commissioners gave Farm Share $500,000 to buy produce from local farmers,” Maytan said. “We spent that in two weeks. It’s the end of the farmer’s season. Farmers in the North are picking now, so our facility up there is getting produce to share.”

“The USDA did a Feeding Families program that’s providing produce for six weeks in a pre-pack that’s easier to hand out,” he said. “The Florida Marlins teamed up with us and we do two-a-week distributions with them.”

Shelley said Farm Share has done 621 food drops or distribution events statewide since March 1. “We work with hosts or government agencies that are responsible for coordinating the volunteers for an event,” he said.

Shelley said to coordinate groups of volunteers for food events, the Farm Share contact is Judy at 305-246-3276.

“Frankly, monetary donations are best,” Shelley said. “It can be converted into fuel or food or what’s needed. It’s the most beneficial. The larger pallet load donations help us better than random goods.”

“I feel very blessed just to work here,” said Maytan. “There is a purpose in life and this is what I was meant to do. It’s a big help to people.”

Shelley said the start of hurricane season has Farm Share doing preparation planning as a designated state disaster relief facility.

“The state EOC is already focused on getting enough supplies for that eventuality,” he said. “They’re already actively storing MREs and water. Hopefully the demand for our products may slow a little by July as things drops or distribution events statewide since March 1. “We work with hosts or government agencies that are responsible for coordinating the volunteers for an event,” he said.

Shelley said to coordinate groups of volunteers for food events, the Farm Share contact is Judy at 305-246-3276.

“Frankly, monetary donations are best,”  Shelley said. “It can be converted into fuel or food or what’s needed. It’s the most beneficial. The larger pallet load donations help us better than random goods.”

“I feel very blessed just to work here,” said Maytan. “There is a purpose in life and this is what I was meant to do. It’s a big help to people.”

Shelley said the start of hurricane season has Farm Share doing preparation planning as a designated state disaster relief facility.

“The state EOC is already focused on getting enough supplies for that eventuality,” he said. “They’re already actively storing MREs and water. Hopefully the demand for our products may slow a little by July as things

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