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Farm Share, Opa-locka feed families in need

City’s Vice Mayor Kelley teams up with local officials

Miami Times Editorial Department | 8/7/2013, 1:11 p.m.

“They are not just feeding the stomach, they’re feeding the spirit and the soul,” exclaimed 41-year resident Mary Brown as she stood in line — one of hundreds of recipients that received free groceries in Opa-locka last Friday. The Farm Share food distribution was sponsored by the City of Opa-locka mayor and commission and hosted by Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley in partnership with State Senator Oscar Braynon II and State Representative Cynthia Stafford. It all took place in the parking lot of Historic City Hall.

Farm Share, a non-profit organization, is working with Kelley and other local officials, legislators and groups to alleviate hunger and malnutrition across the state, by recovering fresh, nutritious food and distributing it to scores of seniors, children, families, veterans and others who need it most. Farm Share Commodities Coordinator Alfio Ferrea says the program is funded through grants and donations from local and national contributors. Fernando Jose Fernandez, 32, a 10-year resident of Opa-locka expressed his gratitude. “I am the only ‘bread-maker’ in the house, trying to support a family of four which includes my 87-year-old grandmother and this really helps us,” he said.

Stafford said, “This is the reason we are here ± to serve the people of our community.”

Over 25 community volunteers assisted officials with the bagging, organizing and distribution.

Ferrea estimates that each $10.00 donation to Farm Share provides $100 to $150 in groceries, per household. The items distributed last week included: frozen turkeys, potato wedges, beef stew, egg noodles, tomato sauce, dry pinto beans, apple juice, corn meal, organic fresh fruits and vegetables, along with emergency blankets.

“Today we were able to serve over 600 households,” Ferrea added.

“During hard economic times, this was an opportunity for us to assist those who could use a little help,” Kelley said.

One resident confirmed his view.

“This will take a lot of weight of my family due to the unexpected expenses of an upcoming funeral,” she said. “I was blessed today because turkey stretches with beans.”