In the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, Farm Share, the state’s leading food nonprofit and largest foodbank, partnered with global disaster relief organization Global Empowerment Mission (GEM) to provide fast relief to North Florida. Since the relief operations began last week, Farm Share has delivered a staggering 920 thousand pounds of food, water, and disaster relief materials – the equivalent of 23 full semi-trucks – to the affected communities.
Farm Share forged a vital partnership with GEM to optimize its response efforts and established a base camp in Perry, Fla., which was ground zero for Hurricane Idalia’s landfall. At this central location, Farm Share distributes supplies locally and reloads smaller trucks for further deliveries to neighboring counties and directly to residents in rural areas. The organization has distributed much-needed water, food, and resources to the most affected counties, including Jefferson, Taylor, Lafayette, Suwanee, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Alachua, Union, and Bradford.
In addition to its partnership with GEM, Farm Share has worked closely with the Red Cross and Sunshine Health, one of its healthcare partners, to distribute food, water, and supplies at various locations throughout the affected regions.
“At Farm Share, our mission has always been to combat hunger and assist those facing adversity, says Stephen Shelley, CEO of Farm Share. The response to Hurricane Idalia has been no different. We’ve worked tirelessly alongside our partners, including GEM, the Red Cross, Sunshine Health, and others, to ensure that relief reaches the affected counties swiftly and efficiently. Our convoy of aid, reduced travel times, and establishing a central base camp are just a few examples of our dedication to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected.”
During the early aftermath of the storm, Farm Share coordinated with former County Commissioner and current Sweetwater Mayor Pepe Diaz to lead a convoy of trucks to deliver aid to the affected areas. The convoy, accompanied by numerous police cars with lights and sirens blazing, left at 1 a.m. Thursday morning to make it possible to deliver much-needed aid at first light, less than 24 hours after the storm made landfall in the area.
Farm Share has maintained strong partnerships with its local and regional partner agencies, including collaborating with the Midwest Food Bank for joint food distribution efforts throughout North Florida. The organization also engaged local community leaders and elected officials who represent the hardest hit areas to assist in identifying the needs of the communitie and establishing food and supply distribution hubs.
In close cooperation with the state of Florida Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Farm Share remains dedicated to providing vital assistance and support to the impacted communities. Farm Share anticipates that the long-term recovery needs in these communities will be substantial and is committed to offering sustained aid to help these areas recover and rebuild over time.
About Farm Share
Established in 1991, Farm Share started the innovative concept of retrieving unused food from Florida farms and redistributing it to those in need. Operations began in Homestead and have expanded to serve the entire state of Florida as a homegrown food bank. Farm Share is the largest independent food bank in the state, the third largest in the nation, and was recently named America’s No. 1 Food Bank by Wall Street 24/7. The nonprofit organization focuses on fighting food insecurity in Florida while simultaneously reducing food waste from local farms. The Farm Share team redistributes fresh fruits and vegetables from Florida farmers to benefit neighborhoods and communities in need throughout all 67 counties in Florida. To learn more about Farm Share, visit www.farmshare.org.