HOMESTEAD (CBS4) – At the Farm Share distribution center in Homestead, fresh and free produce donated by area farms—along with canned goods from a federal program—make a welcome supplement for people on slim financial diets.
“My wife died and she was the main one who brought in the money,” Patrick Collins told CBS4’s Michael Williams. “So we are left without much and this really helps out a lot.”
Now, though, Farm Share bosses worry the lifeline will fray. They do not know where their funding stands in Governor Scott’s lean budget proposal unveiled earlier this week. They say there simply are not enough details; it’s a complaint heard often this week.The $1.4 million budget for Farm Share operations statewide once relied on a $600,000 contribution from state funds. State funding has been reduced to $200,000 over the past three years, and the social agency says that is simply not enough help.
Farm Share executives argue that the demand from needy families has risen nearly 70 percent in the past few years as the economy sputtered. They told CBS4 they serve 469,000 families in South Florida alone.
Farm Share spokeswoman Mia DeVane said, “It is difficult to serve as many families that need our services and our fresh fruits and vegetables. We have had to cut staff over the past few years and we have to turn families away.”
All eyes now turn to Tallahassee and state lawmakers. An anxious legislative session is ahead for agencies like Farm Share. They wait to see how a budget starved for money impact efforts to stave off hunger in communities across Florida.