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Local organizations working to bring fresh produce to food banks

Bringing food from farms to food banks
Posted at 12:06 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 11:38:00-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Several local organizations are partnering to bring farm-fresh produce to the community.

Robert McMahon, owner of Southern Fresh Farms in Fort Myers grows a lot of his produce, but they also source from larger farms in the area.

Many of these farms currently have a surplus in produce and are forced to throw away product as the current demand diminishes.

“There is a big expense there, you’ve already put all the expense into planting a growing and taking care of your produce, and now you’re looking to just give it away, ” said McMahon.

He speaks for all farmers when he says the current pandemic has really taken a toll on local farms.

“It just gets really tough when there has been absolutely no income from the time you planted it to the time you need to harvest it, ” said Robert McMahon.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank serves thousands of families a week, as the need has gone up nearly 40 percent.

Many donations come from local farmers wanting to ensure food does not go to waste.

“The challenge here is the sheer volume of food, you are talking about millions of pounds of food that would normally go to a food service organization, ” said Richard LeBer, President & CEO of The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

AERObrige is a disaster relief non-profit organization.
Pilots across the country have volunteered to help find a solution to food shortages.

“We have over 2500 pilots registered throughout the entire country, ” said Charley Valera.

Valera says a major issue is the lack of transportation.

“We can take food from anywhere and bring it anywhere as well as and other emergency supplies whatever it happens to be, right now the problem happens to be food, ” said Charley Valera.

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson is also working with these organizations to help ensure the needs of our community are met.

“There is plenty of need and so this coordinated effort is meant to reach out to not only in Fort Myers but the broader area, ” said Mayor Henderson.

Reach out to your local farms, if they have excess to donate to food banks, AERObridge can deliver the product.

Additionally, farms will be provided with a tax deduction letter for their donation.

Head to AERObridge.org for more information on how to get involved.

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