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Food bank gets upgrades after year where demand was high

Farmshare food bank gets upgrades since pandemic has escalated need
Farmshare food bank gets upgrades since pandemic has escalated need

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Since the beginning of the pandemic last March, Farm Share reported that they distributed nearly 137 million pounds of food to relief efforts. They say that’s more than 114 million meals.

On Thursday, the food bank announced upgrades that will help them provide even more.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, there were 3.4 million families in Florida with food insecurity in 2020, up from 2.8 million in 2019. The statistics are attributed mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help reach those families, Farm Share held more than 22,500 community food distribution events and donated hundreds of millions of pounds of food. The work they do isn’t inexpensive.

Recently, two out-of-state companies, Americold and the Gould Group, partnered to upgrade Farm Share’s homestead warehouse. Installed were new, brighter and more efficient LED lights that not only make it easier and safer for employees to work at all hours, but it will save the non-profit organization money, too.

“Farm Share is able to move large quantities of food. It costs us about 10 cents per pound to move. So, the $20,000 of annualized savings that we’re getting from this project translates to 200,000 pounds of food or 167,000 additional meals just because of this one project,” Stephen Shelley, CEO of Farm Share, said.

Other work was done, too, including ways that the group could improve efficiency on their cold storage, which would help save even more money.

And any extra savings equals extra food for Floridians.

RELATED: Where, when are food distributions this week?

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.