C.M. WALKER/ Alachua County Today
The High Springs Civic Center was t he site of a Farm Share food giveaway last Saturday. L-R: High Springs Chamber of Commerce President Eyvonne Andrews and High Springs Vice-Mayor Gloria James loaded food into bags for distribution.
HIGH SPRINGS – Farm Share was in town Saturday to deliver a truckload of food to people in need in the greater High Springs area.
A non-stop line of cars could be seen stretching all the way around the perimeter of the Civic Center and out into Santa Fe Blvd. Car after car received food placed into their vehicles or trunks by a group of approximately 30 local volunteers.
While volunteers kept the cars rolling through quickly, High Springs Police Officers managed to keep regular traffic flowing around vehicles on Santa Fe Blvd.
“By the time all 42,000 lbs. of food had been distributed, volunteers had managed to provide food for 1,812 individuals in 397 households,” said Dave Reynolds, Quincy Farm Share Facility Manager.
Food items included bread, baked goods, juice, frozen chicken, potatoes grown in Gainesville at Blue Skies Farms, okra and green beans grown in Florida and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodities.
“We had just the right amount of food for the number of cars that came through the line,” said Reynolds. “We finished and packed up everything a little before noon and left shortly thereafter.”
The USDA purchases food from farmers each year as a form of price support. In Florida the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (FDAC) works with regional not-for-profit food banks to receive and distribute the USDA product to the local food banks, soup kitchens and other emergency food providers.
Farm Share is the regional food bank for the Northeast Region consisting of 11 counties as well as the Southeast region consisting of two counties.
High Springs is the fourth city in Alachua County to receive food distribution through Farm Share this year. “The first one was on June 4 at the Santa Fe Community College parking lot in Gainesville,” said Reynolds. Hawthorne, Waldo and now High Springs have benefited from Farm Share food distributions.
“Through all four distribution points, 168,000 lbs. of food have been distributed thus far in Alachua County,” Reynolds said.
Food distribution volunteers included High Springs Mayor Byran Williams, Vice-Mayor Gloria James, Commissioner Sue Weller, City Manager Ed Booth, Police Chief Joel DeCoursey, Jr., Police Lt. Antoine Sheppard, Fire Chief Bruce Gillingham and members of the High Springs Fire Department, High Springs Chamber President Eyvonne Andrews, members of the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe and missionaries from the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints serving in Gainesville.
“We usually help out Farm Share whenever they need help,” said Missionary Sister Mansfield. “We have been helping Farm Share for years. Usually we help out once a week on Saturday mornings whenever they need volunteers.”
St. Madeleine Community Outreach (SMCO) is the standard local distributor for food from USDA Jacksonville, said Lucille Gabriel. “I'm sure some of our clients participated in Saturday's food distribution,” she said. “This [distribution] was for individual households. We actually are a USDA food distribution point for Alachua County. We distribute USDA food to anyone who comes to our office and says they are from Alachua County.”
There are other USDA food distribution sites in High Springs, but SMCO is the only High Springs location serving Alachua County five days a week.
To learn more about the history of the program visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/fdd-history-and-background.
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