(Sept. 30) KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — The children of migrant farm workers were the big winners from a silent and live auction during the final day of the Orlando-based Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s 60th annual convention Sept. 21-23 in Key Biscayne, Fla.

Organized by FFVA and Citrus & Vegetable magazine, a sister publication to The Packer, the event featured 120 items that raised $41,000 in bids and an additional $31,000 in pledges from a consortium of FFVA members for a total of $72,000. With a $16 match from Florida and federal child care monies for every dollar raised, the grand total came to more than $1.15 million for the Redlands Christian Migrant Association, executive director Barbara Mainster said.

RCMA, based in Immokalee, cares for children of migrant workers and prepares them for school through a variety of Head Start programs, which include after-school centers and charter schools.

“The health and child care services provided by RCMA make Florida farm jobs more attractive to migrant workers,” FFVA president Mike Stuart said, “and that helps ensure a steady work force for Florida growers.”

Among the items sold during the auction were a two-day, three-night sailfishing trip on a 50-foot Sportfisherman, football tickets, golf rounds, weekend vacations, hunting trips, sports memorabilia, gift items and collectibles.