MILTON — The Milton Rotary Club recently heard from member Robin Vickers about Farm to City Week.
Farm to City Week is Nov. 22 to 28 this year. It was born out of a challenge made to Vickers to raise awareness of all that happens at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences facility in Jay.
Vickers had an idea to promote the center, get agriculture students involved and also help those in the area that are in need of food.
The UF/IFAS facility teams up with Feeding the Gulf Coast, Waterfront Rescue Mission and the Milton Community Center to distribute food (some locally grown) to 400 prequalified families in both Santa Rosa and Escambia counties.
In the first year of the event, 200 families were fed, and it has grown substantially since that with a total of 950 families fed in the two counties.
It is important to note that the families that receive assistance are prequalified as this event is not designed for families to come to the event the day of for assistance. There are also several sponsors who help make this event possible.
On Nov. 25, the locally grown produce will be harvested at the West Florida Research facility by several local agriculture students and they will also wash and pack the food.
Distribution day is 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 26 at the Milton Community Center; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Waterfront Rescue Mission in Pensacola.
Families will have a choice of a ham or turkey along with all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal. They will also receive the locally grown vegetables, local stone ground grits, cornmeal sweet potatoes, gravy and a choice of pastries.
Each family will have a volunteer to help load their carts and assist them with loading it in their vehicles. Each cart holds approximately 60 pounds of food.
"This is a great event that has a tremendous impact for the families that receive the food boxes," an MRC spokesperson said.
Families who wish to prequalify for food distribution may contact Robin Vickers, 850-393-7334.