Wish Farms' 3rd Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge Raises $77,000 for Charity
- by Jessica Donnel
PLANT CITY, FL - Wish Farms has done it once again. The 3rd Annual Bright House Networks Strawberry Picking Challenge, hosted by Wish Farms, has officially banked $77,000 for Redlands Christian Migrant Association.
“We had a wonderful turnout this year despite the rainy weather,” said Gary Wishnatzki, Owner of Wish Farms. “This fun, family event was well received by the community. We hope we succeeded in bringing awareness not only to the hard work of our farm workers but also to the outstanding contribution that RCMA makes.”
Held on Saturday, February 6, this fundraising event banded together 18 corporate-sponsored teams to compete in relays for the title of “Best Harvest Crew.”
A few of the crews that were represented, as well as coaches from strawberry growers around the state, include:
- United Way Suncoast
- Monte Package Company
- ATP Logistics
- International Paper
- Florida Strawberry Growers Association
- Farm Credit of Central Florida
When all was said and done, the International Paper team, coached by Philip Stanaland of G&D Farms, came out on top, being awarded the coveted ‘Strawberry Joe’ perpetual trophy. In a separate local strawberry grower challenge, local growers nominated their best harvesters to compete in a pro-picking competition. Out of the six professional strawberry harvesters that participated, Javier Hernandez of G&D Farms received the highest judge’s score for quality and received a $300 cash prize.
The day-long event, emceed by InfoMas reporter Melissa Zayas Moreno, featured a smorgasbord of family-friendly events, including a charity u-pick open to the public, a strawberry shortcake eating contest, balloon artist, face painter, games, DJ music provided by Host Entertainment Productions, and special appearances by the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court, and N.R.G. “Next Radical Generation” singing group.
According to a press release, proceeds from the event will benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association, a non-profit organization that operates child-care centers and charter schools for Florida’s rural poor, particularly farm workers’ children. RCMA operates 70 child-care centers and three charter schools throughout Florida.
Since the inception of the event in 2014, the Wish Farms and the Strawberry Picking Challenge have donated a total of $150,000 to the children of RCMA.