It may be easy to focus on the number of hungry people across the world, but the truth is, people go hungry every day in Florida. Farm Share is one organization that has tried to alleviate the problem by redistributing blemished or improperly sized produce from farms to charitable organizations and poor and elderly families.
For 12 years, Farm Share has helped feed 2 million needy people by distributing $23 million worth of fresh produce.
Although Gov. Jeb Bush included funding for the program in his budget proposal, the House and Senate aren’t approving it. Because Farm Share doesn’t know if it will have funding next year, the program stopped distributing food Friday.
There is no reason for the House and Senate members to be unsure whether to continue funding this program. Farm Share deserves its funding, if not an increase in it. Its budget was cut last year from $940,000 to $400,000, but the program still managed to feed millions.
The biggest expenditure Farm Share’s budget allows for is shipping the food. One tractor-trailer filled with 21 tons of food costs about $1,200. The company’s Web site, www.farmshare.org, offers a way for supporters of the program to sponsor a truck. Anyone else who doesn’t understand why it’s taking the House and Senate so long to approve Farm Share’s funding can get a group together and donate towards the cost of a truck.
This way, at least some people will still be able to benefit, and the farmers’ excess food won’t go to waste.
Another way to help the program in the long term is by contacting legislators and other government officials to encourage them to approve the proposed funding. For names of state legislators, visit www.myflorida.com.
This is yet another simple way students can get involved to improve their community.