Radio show helps fight hunger

99.5 WQYK partnered up with Feeding Tampa Bay for the fourth year in a row to collect food for those in need in Zephyrhills on Friday.

The country music station is in the middle of their event known as Food Fund November. Every Friday of the month, the morning show broadcasts live from a city in the Tampa Bay area. Their tent is set up right next to Feeding Tampa Bay’s tent, where you can drop off food for donation.

“We started Food Fund Friday’s as a way to both help families and to get out to the community to say thanks for everything that you do,” Veronica Alfaro, co-host of the morning show said.

Roughly 100 people showed up to donate food. Among those was state Rep. Danny Burgess, who donated food and participated in the radio show.

“The community always turns out for these type of events,” Burgess said. “We’re always looking for ways to help our neighbors and to help others.”

Unfortunately, those in need are suffering throughout the year, not just during the fall. For this reason, Feeding Tampa Bay wants people to know that their services are available year-round.

“Fall is when people tend to focus on people being hungry,” Maxine Rice, a Feeding Tampa Bay employee said. “But really we need to make sure people are aware throughout the year.”

Feeding Tampa Bay is part of the national Feeding America network. Over the last three years, the nonprofit organization has nearly doubled the amount of food that is provided to the public. They went from 20 million meals to 37 million meals a year.

If you want to reach out and help your community, you can go online to Feeding Tampa Bay’s website at feedingtampabay.org to learn more.

Honoring Veterans in Zephyrhills

Zephyrhills’ annual Veteran’s Day parade took place this Saturday. Roughly two hundred people showed up to support the veterans and show their appreciation.

After the National Anthem was sung and the Pledge of Allegiance was said, the parade participants began making their way down Fifth Avenue.

Various groups of veterans headed down the street one car or trailer at a time. They were followed by Zephyrhills High School ROTC and JROTC members, Helen’s Baton and Dance Studio dancers, several leagues of Boy Scouts and a few other veteran-supporting groups.

Also in the mix of veterans were the animals who served the country. These included dogs and horses.

Main Street Zephyrhills hosts this event every year. A member of the board of Main Street Zephyrhills, Jody Wilkeson, commented on the history of the parade.

“The Veteran’s Day parade has been going on for over ten years here in downtown,” Wilkeson said. “On and off, probably for twenty years since Main Street was first formed.”

The announcer of the parade, Greg First, was honored to recognize veterans again this year, as he has been announcing the parade for years. He too is a veteran.

“I was in during Vietnam, 1968 to 1972,” First said. “The war that no one really liked back then but I was happy to serve. I’d do it again.”

The parade reminds us to show gratitude to our veterans and remember all those who served.

 

Couple Starts Healthy Farm Business

Katy Sierra and Rosalyne Follman are the happy owners of a healthy, new business called Dirty Girl Farming. They grow microgreens and raise chickens on a farm in Wimauma, Florida.

“We both grew up in agriculture-based families—always outside—farm life, always doing something like that,” Sierra said. “So we that we wanted to head in that direction, so we came up with the idea for microgreens.”

The women have many tasks on the farm that range from finding the right balance of pH levels to sanitizing every individual seed before it’s planted.

“We only use pH balanced water so I have to find the right balance,” Sierra said. “Constantly moving things around during the day to get different parts of the sun, different times of the day where the sun hits it differently.”

They have dreams of expanding their business into a nationwide franchise.

“We definitely have plans of expanding,” Sierra said. “Not only here on this property, building more and more structures but we have plans to purchase neighboring properties as well but even beyond that I would love to see us in other states.”

Before they expand outside of Florida, they want to expand their own line of products and start offering home baked goods.

“I’m really excited about products that we have to come,” Sierra said. “We’re going to do baked goods and maybe skin care products and things like that.”

Their investor, Jessica Bellman, is fully supportive of their endeavors and points out the passion they have for the business.

“I think Dirty Girl Farming has not only a passion,” said Bellman. “But an interest in the education and putting healthy food on family tables.”

For more information or to purchase their products, you can visit their website at www.dirtygirlfarming.com.