The recent 9th annual Benefit Auction, sponsored by the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation (formerly Florida Fruit & Vegetable Research & Education Foundation) raised a total of $43,000 to help the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA).

Funds were raised at a daylong silent auction and also include contributions from the “Above and Beyond Club,” a group of donors who donate funds above and beyond those generated via auction items. Proceeds will go to RCMA’s facilities and schools throughout Florida that provide care and education for children of farm workers.

“The specialty crop industry is very fortunate in having an organization like RCMA,” said Mike Carlton, director of the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation. “The services provided by RCMA help attract a steady work force for Florida growers and help improve the quality of life for their employees’ families.”

The Benefit Auction is held each year during FFVA’s Annual Convention, which took place this year at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Fla. Convention participants bid on items and services such as tickets to sporting events, vacation getaways, fine wine and original art.

Money raised by the Benefit Auction is matched by state and federal funds.

Past Benefit Auctions and donations have helped support causes important to Florida agriculture and the people who make it possible.

In addition to RCMA and related scholarship programs, auctions have raised funds for the Hurricane Farm Worker Relief Fund, which provided storm-resistant housing for farm workers whose homes had been damaged or destroyed during the 2004 hurricanes.

The Florida Specialty Crop Foundation was established in 1991 to address specialty crop growers' scientific and knowledge needs in the production, marketing, transportation and consumption of fruits and vegetables. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the Foundation operates to benefit the Florida specialty crops industry and society as a whole. Specialty crop producers provide oversight to the Foundation.

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association is an agricultural trade organization representing Florida’s producers of fruits, vegetables and other crops.