Farmers support SWFL amid regional food insecurity due to pandemic

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: via WINK News.

Thousands of families in Southwest Florida are experiencing food insecurity and need support. As job losses mount, the need is growing. With many retailers short on supplies to donate, local farmers have been able to meet some of the needs.

A line at the Heights Center in south Fort Myers Thursday was a continued example of how great current food insecurity issues are in Southwest Florida during the coronavirus pandemic. Car after car, volunteers packed trunks with fresh produce.

This service helps people such as Karla Lewis, who has trouble just going to the grocery store.

“With everything that’s going on, I need every single little bit I can get,” Lewis said.

Lewis could only describe the day in three words

“It’s like Christmas,” Lewis said.

Florida Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto says she’s hearing from people having difficulty making ends meet.

“This is a really difficult time not just in our community but across the State of Florida,” Benacquisto said.

And, speaking to Catherine Kelly, who’s in charge of the Heights Foundation, she said one of the greatest needs of her and immediate service area was food.

And that need is partially being met by local farmers. Ashley Moore with Farm Share says, with the lack of demand from retailers for produce, more and more farmers are donating.

“Right now, we are just taking on millions and millions of produce from farmers being hit with the issue of not being able to sell,” Moore said.

And, as farmers work to get back on their feet, Farm Share is doing what it can to make sure no food goes to waste.

All the food that didn’t get handed out will go to the local Community Cooperative, so they can continue their mission of feeding families.

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