The 1995 Winner: Patricia Robbins
Patricia Robbins is a lifelong resident of Florida who grew up on a farm in Dade City and is now contributing her talents to Farm Share Inc., a non-profit food recovery and distributing organization based in Dade County.
As a teenager, Robbins used a part-time job in a bank, working after school and on weekends, to save $500 to plant an orange grove. She also parlayed that experience into an eight-year career in banking.
Later married and living in Dade City, Robbins worked in public relations and management positions with a chain of seafood restaurants until the family bought a wholesale seafood company in Miami.
After retiring from that business, Robbins volunteered in 1992 to help Farm Share get organized after she read a newspaper article about the fledgling effort to distribute blemished but wholesome produce to the hungry. The idea for Farm Share originated with Dave Friedrichs, general manager of a Homestead produce packing house, and Kristin McGregor, former Dade County Farm Bureau director. They gladly accepted Robbins’ offer to help and since then, she has devoted her efforts, time and talents to serving without pay as vice president and executive director of Farm Share, which operates out of the Florida City State Farmers’ Market.
Robbins coordinates the collection of fresh produce donated by farmers and packing houses and it’s distribution to organizations that feed the hungry throughout Florida and some other states. Since its inception, Farm Share has distributed millions of pounds of wholesome produce that otherwise would have gone to waste. She has contributed tremendous energy and dedication to mare sure Farm Share is a success. And even more remarkable, she has done all this on volunteer basis.
Robbins, herself, got a new perspective on the plight of the homeless and hungry when her house was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. But throughout the rebuilding process, she continued to devote her time to the Farm Share program. "I intended to volunteer one day a week, but my heart got into it." Robbins said of her motivation for dedicating so much effort to Farm Share. "There are so many hungry people and so much food available, all that is needed is to get the two together."
Robbins is also active in other charitable, civic and religious organizations in South Florida. She received the "Florida’s Finest" award from Gov. Lawton Chiles, which honors Floridians "who make their communities significantly better through dedication, hard work and good ideas."