Above photo: Bob Shumate collects collard greens for HCDP.
By V. Susan Hutchinson
A unique HCDP fundraiser was started in 2018 and expanded this past year. Locally grown collard greens were donated by one of our volunteers with proceeds going to HCDP.
That volunteer was Bob Shumate.
Shumate lives in Green Sea precinct on two acres of land, and plants most of it with various vegetables including collards, turnips, pumpkins, tomatoes and several varieties of squash.
The fundraising project was born when he saw roadside trucks coming out right before Thanksgiving and selling their vegetables for the holiday. Shumate had always given his vegetables away as gifts during the holiday season, but decided he could donate them as a fundraiser for a worthy cause.
A lifelong Democrat from the Washington D.C./Southern Maryland area, Shumate has a degree in horticulture from the University of Maryland and was a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 while working as a produce manager in various grocery stores. Before retirement in 2012, he was the Calvert County, MD athletic field manager as well as the maintenance manager for the county’s parks and recreation department. He is currently a volunteer grounds keeper at Green Sea Floyds High School.
Shumate decided he needed to get politically active here the day after the 2016 Presidential election. He came to the HCDP office and met Grace Gifford, one of HCDP’s most active volunteers. Now, he is the Executive Committee representative for his precinct, a member of the voter committee, poll watcher and current president of the Northwest Action Dems club. He presented his idea for the collard donation to Fundraising Chair Barbara Hake in 2018. Barbara loved the idea and the fundraiser was started for Thanksgiving 2018 with just collards.
Donations for the first year didn’t amount to much; however, as people were requesting turnips as well as collards, Shumate started growing them for the 2019 drive.
Gifford asked office volunteers to call people to let them know about the availability of collards and turnips. The HCDP Communications Committee also helped by publicizing the project in HCDP’s online weekly newsletter and on social media.
In addition, people who weren’t interested in purchasing the greens were offered the opportunity to donate the money for them, and they would be sent to Harvest Baptist Church food bank in their name. This resulted in 20 heads of collards donated to the food bank. As a result of these changes, HCDP raised more than four times what was raised in the first year.
Shumate’s other main interest is classic cars and he owns a 1932 Ford Roadster, which he takes to car shows across the Southeast. This car was seen at an HCDP Voter Registration Event in Galivants Ferry last year. He also has a new nickname – “Farmer Bob”.
HCDP greatly appreciates Bob Shumate’s efforts to help raise money. He hopes that this type of fundraiser will spread to other counties throughout the state or that people will find other unique ways to support the Democratic Party in South Carolina.
Thanks for all you do Bob!