Florida grower-shippers have contributed almost $30,000 to the Redlands Christian Migrant Association, a charitable organization that cares for and educates farmworker children.

Florida growers contribute to farmworker children schooling

A Sept. 21 silent auction during the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s yearly convention in Naples, Fla., generated $28,495 for the Immokalee, Fla.-based RCMA. The auction, sponsored by the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, an FFVA research and education division, generated $16,000. Growers and members, however, contributed $13,000 in “above and beyond” side contributions to the foundation.

The money has special value to RCMA because a state school-readiness contract that requires matching funds provides the nonprofit group up to $13 million a year, Barbara Mainster, RCMA’s executive director, said in a news release.

With a 1:16 matching funds ratio, Mainster said the FFVA’s contribution qualified the social services organization to receive $456,000 in state funds.

“What a wonderful benefit!” she said in the release. “These are some of our oldest, dearest friends.”

This was the 12th year the foundation sponsored a benefit auction at the FFVA convention.

RCMA provides preschool education for thousands of Florida farmworker children through childcare centers in 21 Florida counties.