Food bank expands as hunger grows in county
In response to the growing needs of the Palm Beach County and increased efforts to end hunger, Feeding South Florida opened its new 25,644-square-foot facility at 4925 Park Ridge Blvd. in Boynton Beach.
A member of the Feeding America network, the opening of Feeding Palm Beach County food bank coincides with Feeding South Florida’s 35th anniversary of service to Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
“Having served the South Florida area for 35 years, we are very pleased to expand with our new branch and facility in Palm Beach County,” Feeding South Florida CEO Paco Vélez said in a statement.
“This new facility will help us make a greater impact on the lives of those facing hunger and poverty in Palm Beach County, where through direct service programs and a network of more than 100 nonprofit partner agencies, we serve 202,110 individuals — 63,660 of whom are children — who are struggling to put food on the table,” he said.
For the past 25 years, Feeding South Florida occupied the former Cheney Brothers facility in West Palm Beach.
However, in nearly doubling its output of food to Palm Beach County from 5 million meals (6 million pounds) in 2012 to more than 9.1 million meals (11 million pounds) in 2015, the organization needed a space that could handle the increased volume of food and grocery products.
It also required a space that would provide a resource center and innovative programming for Feeding Palm Beach County’s partner agencies and the families they serve.
Vélez is proud of the fact that the new facility will enable the addition of a client choice pantry, nutrition education and a social service programs designed to help families end the cycle of poverty by offering financial literacy classes, job training and computer classes.
“We’re excited to move to Boynton Beach,” he said. “There is a lot of need in Boynton Beach and Lake Worth. Food is the first step. We want to provide a voice to families and transform their lives with workforce development and social services.”
“Feeding Palm beach County is dedicated to increasing the nutritional health and well-being of our residents and helping others give back,” Vélez said.
Enrique Zuanetto, of the Boynton Beach Soup Kitchen, said the expansion to Boynton Beach is “positive for all parties involved.”
“We’re excited for the increased proximity,” said Zuanetto, whose new Meals on Wheels program is serving more than 70 homebound seniors. “We will work together to benefit the people in need.”
He said the soup kitchen served 266,777 meals to more than 150,000 people in 2015.
Danielle Hanson, hunger relief executive for United Way of Palm Beach County, said, “Feeding South Florida is an important partner in United Way’s community-wide Hunger Relief Plan, and many of the needs they are addressing with their new facility are integral to creating the changes our community needs.”
“It’s outstanding that they will offer nutrition education and skills training,” she said. “We are excited to continue to work with them on these innovative initiatives and see the collective impact we can have on hunger in Palm Beach County.”
The facility will provide 10 volunteer shifts per week, available for individuals and groups to help sort food and grocery items. From Tuesday through Saturday, volunteer shifts take place twice a day from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. A community room, complete with a projector, wi-fi, tables, chairs and computers, are available to community groups to host team-building activities and off-site retreats. Visit feedingsouthflorida.org/ways-to-help.
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