(PRESS RELEASE)_Boca Raton, FL (August 31, 2021) – Boca Helping Hands (BHH) has planned a variety of initiatives, giving members of the community the opportunity to help feed local families who are “food insecure” during September’s Hunger Action Month. The initiatives include opportunities to advocate, volunteer, and raise needed funds.
Nearly 155,000 Palm Beach County residents struggled with food insecurity prior to the pandemic, and more than 44,000 of those were children. At the height of the pandemic, food insecurity saw a 29% increase of an additional 45,000 individuals. While it’s now projected to be over 181,000 individuals, it’s still elevated from pre-pandemic levels, and many of the “extra” streams of food from the federal government are now concluded.
Boca Helping Hands has planned a calendar of events for Hunger Action Month with a suggested activity each day in September. Visit BocaHelpingHands.org/HungerActionMonth to view the calendar.
“Hunger Action Month is a reminder that there are local families and children who do not know where their next meal is coming from and, as a community, we can help,” said Greg Hazle, Executive Director of Boca Helping Hands. “Unfortunately, the resurgence of the pandemic is likely to make matters worse.”
Boca Helping Hands began as a small soup kitchen in 1998, just serving the Boca Raton area. Over the past 23 years, the organization has expanded throughout Palm Beach County, grown its hunger relief efforts, and now also provides healthcare for uninsured clients, adult education, job training, and emergency financial assistance.
Boca Helping Hands’ food programs include the Pantry Bag Program, which provides nonperishable and fresh groceries to clients with five locations between Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and Lantana/Lake Worth. In October, the organization will be adding West Delray to its pantry distribution schedule. Annually, Boca Helping Hands distributes more than 80,000 pantry bags.
The Hot Meal Program provides hot and nutritious meals six days a week at the East Boca Raton location. Boca Helping Hands serves nearly 90,000 hot meals each year.
The Homebound Meal Program provides individuals who are homebound due to age, ailment, or disability with meals delivered to their homes. In 2020, Boca Helping provided more than 5,500 meals to local homebound clients.
The BHH Backpacks program provides weekend meals to schoolchildren from ten local schools, serving nearly 1,300 children.
Each year, the organization sees a 10-15% increase in demand for the Pantry Bag Program, but during the height of the pandemic, 1,760 new families registered to receive groceries, an increase of 40%. In May 2021, Boca Helping Hands opened an additional warehouse facility at its main campus in East Boca Raton with the capacity to potentially double the number of people served over the next five to ten years.
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