By Meagan Perle
For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST - In her latest venture to help end hunger Judith Cruz, CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank, has been named president of the Florida Association of Food Banks.
Under Ms. Cruz's leadership, the FAFB's role in getting fresh produce on the tables of hungry people throughout Florida will be expanded using resources such as the Farmers Feeding Florida program.
"I knew we could do a better job of filling the gap of people who are going hungry, especially on the Treasure Coast," Ms. Cruz said.
The FAFB is the statewide organization that oversees the efforts of Florida's 24 food banks.
They are collecting produce from vendors such as Publix, Wal-Mart and Winn Dixie. Ms. Cruz said there is nothing wrong with the food that gets donated other than cosmetics.
"A normal consumer might not like a beautiful oversize green, bell pepper simply because it is larger than normal," Ms. Cruz said. "But that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it."
Last fiscal year, the FAFB accessed about 25 million pounds of produce through the program. The association supplies more than 3,000 community and faith-based nonprofits, feeding more than 3 million people each year.
Florida serves as the perfect location for a program like this because of to the 10-month growing season and the partnership the FAFB has already created with the state's farmers.
Ms. Cruz said Florida as a whole has been hit particularly hard by the downturned economy and that anyone could help.
"It's our job to make sure people have food on the table, whether it's a donation or just volunteering," Ms. Cruz said.