Fruits of Their Labor

The Giving Coast


Pine View School’s students plan to distribute loads of fresh produce to many families in need this weekend through Florida-based food distribution nonprofit Farm Share. Farm Share annually distributes upwards of 40k pounds of fresh (and free) fruits, vegetables and other commodities to Sarasota County low-income residents. The Farm Share project in Sarasota is led by Pine View’s service-learning, action-driven organization PeaceJam club, and is supported by several other Pine View-based service clubs, in collaboration with Gocio Elementary.

“Farm Share’s mission is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by recovering and distributing fresh and nutritious food to those who need it most,” says Patricia Robbins, Farm Share’s founder and CEO.

Fresh produce often ends up going to waste at grocery stores—even though it is perfectly edible—and they leave up to 50% of it behind. Farm Share takes this leftover fresh produce and transports the food to various organizations to give to families in need throughout Florida. “Imagine a semi-trailer filled with thousands of pounds of fresh produce. This is what Farm Share sends to us, that we then have the privilege to distribute in our local community,” says Edward Brunicardi, Pine View PeaceJam ambassador and one of the three project managers for Farm Share. “The distribution at Gocio Elementary was scheduled with the idea of providing food assistance to support families just coming off of spring break.”

The students don’t stop at simple hand-outs to attendees, they arrange each food group into original and easy recipes, made directly for each family’s diverse needs. “Over the past nine years, Pine View PeaceJam has coordinated 35 pounds of healthy and locally grown food to more than 1,000 Sarasota-Bradenton families that are in need, at each of our events,” says Luis Flores, PeaceJam ambassador and co-manager of Farm Share. “It is truly incredible to evidently know that we have made a real impact in our community.”

The organization has also received a generous donation of hygiene products from Ehrlich and Sallapudi Orthodontics—further encouraging healthy living for low-income families. “It may not seem like a big deal to receive a few meals or hygiene products for many of us,” says Odelia Tiutyama, PeaceJam ambassador and co-manager of Farm Share. “But there are so many families in our community that rely on distribution events such as Farm Share to receive proper nutrients.”

Spread the word of this upcoming distribution event if you know a local family in need: Saturday, March 30, 9am to 12pm at Gocio Elementary School, 3450 Gocio Rd., Sarasota, 34235.

Photos from last year's event, courtesy of Farm Share.

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