More than 1,300 FIU students and community members received boxes of food through a free food distribution event hosted by FIU’s Student Government Association, local elected officials and Farm Share, a community food bank based in Homestead.
Farm Share estimates between 11,000 and 14,000 pounds of food were distributed in just three hours. Each student or family received one whole chicken, a bag of canned goods, along with a watermelon, peppers, cucumbers, papayas and bread.
At one point, cars in line for food stretched from FIU Stadium, where the event was held, to the FIU entrance at 117th Street.
“There had to be 100 cars lined up,’’ said Gabby Millan, chief of staff for SGA, who was participating in her first SGA service activity since being appointed two weeks ago. “Everyone I met was just so thankful. When you participate in a community activity like this, you feel so good, especially because I know that I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed in my life.’’
The drive-through distribution was sponsored by the Dade County Legislative Delegation, chaired by state Sen. Anitere Flores, an FIU alum. She was joined by President Mark B. Rosenberg, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan Zapata and state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz at the event.
Adriana Pereira-Reyes, FIU’s director of state relations, said it was a great opportunity for students to serve others in a direct, meaningful way.
“Not all volunteer opportunities actually put those helping face to face with the people receiving the help, but this event did,” she said. “It made a difference to see the appreciation and joy in the faces of the families that came through. We were thrilled to work with Farm Share and our very own alumni now serving in public office to make this event happen.”
Sen. Flores, who previously served as FIU’s director of state relations, said she’d like to host the event again next year.
“Farm Share is an amazing organization that provides food to families across the state,” she said. “This was an event that brings the community together and allows us to give back to our neighbors. I am grateful for being a part of such a successful event.”
Kristen King Jaiven, director of communications and development for Farm Share, said the non-profit organization works with dozens of community groups to provide fresh and nutritious food to families in need.
“Farm Share’s community distribution events provide an opportunity to bring fresh fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods directly to the families who need it most, completely free of charge,’’ she said. “These events support our mission of alleviating hunger and malnutrition throughout Florida. We do our best to make sure families receive complete meal packages at each event.”
For information on Farm Share, visit their website at farmshare.org.