Farm Share distributes more than 88 million pounds of food across Florida

Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 18:30:05-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Farm Share is providing hundreds of families with groceries.

It's the busiest the nonprofit's CEO Steven Shelley says they've ever been for so long. He shared how you can help continue their mission.

"This is unprecedented demand," said Shelley. "It's something we've never seen before."

Last year, Farm Share distributed more than 88 million pounds of food to more than 17.5 million households in all of Florida's 67 counties.

This year is different, all because of the pandemic plaguing the state.

"Right now, it's tiring," said Shelley. "We're exhausted. My staff is tired."

With so many people out of work, and struggling to provide for their families, Farm Share's food distribution has increased about a million pounds compared to last year, just for the month of April.

At a distribution in Franklin County earlier this week, cars packed parking lots. Sometimes, the food for waiting families ran out.

"What we did find in the beginning of the pandemic is there were a lot of people who went to our event with the financial means, but there was no food in the grocery stores," Shelley said.

He says their food supply chain is in good shape for now. A lot of their supplies coming from farmers, wholesale suppliers and the state's emergency management team. But they still need volunteers.

"What we're asking for is groups of volunteers to set up volunteer parties," said Shelley. "We'll bring the food to you, and you can help us pack that product."

If you can't volunteer, donate whatever you can to local nonprofits like Shelley's.

"They're not going to be able to keep up this fever pitch at breakneck speed without some dollars to help sustain it," said Shelley. "This is a marathon, not a sprint."

Farm Share partners with about 2,000 agencies across the state to get food to people in need.

To view the Farm Share calendar of distribution sites, click here. For more information on volunteering and donating, click here.