Forget the robins and the forsythia that you’re used to seeing. In Palm Beach, there are four certain harbingers of spring:
The tabebuias are blooming. Marshmallow bunnies are 70 percent off at Publix. There’s a car carrier blocking traffic on Bradley Place. The Shiny Sheet launches its Empty Your Pantry Food Drive.
The Palm Beach Daily News is once again partnering with the Town of Palm Beach United Way and Palm Beach Fire-Rescue for the fourth annual Empty Your Pantry food drive, which this year benefits the anti-hunger programs of Feeding South Florida and The Glades Initiative.
“While many think of great wealth in Palm Beach County, the reality is that some of the state’s poorest ZIP codes are also part of our county,” said Beth Walton, chief executive officer of the Town of Palm Beach United Way, said during the 2015 drive. “More than 200,000 individuals are reported to be food-insecure, and, of that, 61 percent are below the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility threshold of 200 percent of national poverty levels.”
The drive comes at a time when the last of food donations from the winter holidays have been distributed and local pantries find the shelves nearly empty.
The project is the brainchild of Helen Barberian, a seasonal resident who found herself with several leftover canned goods after cleaning out her pantry. In 2013, the first year of the drive, Shiny Sheet readers donated nearly 1½ tons of food, $5,000 in donations and even a few Publix gift cards.
Last year, 2,221 pounds of nonperishable foods were collected along with $7,555 in donations.
“The community response each year is better than the year before,” said Tim Burke, publisher of the Palm Beach Daily News. “We look forward to another year of cooperation to help provide food to families in need.”
From today through April 25, donations may be dropped off at the Palm Beach Daily News offices at 400 Royal Palm Way, Suite 100; the Town of Palm Beach United Way offices at 44 Cocoanut Row; and any of Palm Beach Fire-Rescue’s three locations: the North Station at 300 N. County Road, the Central Station at 355 S. County Road and the South Station at 2185 S. Ocean Blvd.
All nonperishable food items will be accepted. Especially needed are peanut butter, canned meats and fish, boxes of macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables and fruits, cans or packages of soup, canned spaghetti and tomato sauce, rice, dried or canned beans and infant formula.
Gift cards from Publix and other grocery stores also may be donated. Checks payable to the Town of Palm Beach United Way also will be accepted, and will be split between Feeding South Florida and The Glades Initiative.
Through its network of nearly 300 partner agencies, Feeding South Florida serves 949,910 people, including children, the working poor and older adults in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. The Glades Initiative’s food bank supplies food to feeding programs, food pantries and soup kitchens in the Glades area.
The names of donors will appear weekly in the Palm Beach Daily News.
For more information, call coordinator Marilyn Blumberg at 820-3800.
HOW TO GIVE
What: Empty Your Pantry spring food drive
Dates: Today through April 25
Sponsored by:Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach Fire-Rescue, Town of Palm Beach United Way
Recipients: Feeding South Florida and The Glades Initiative
Collection points: Palm Beach Daily News, 400 Royal Palm Way, Suite 100; Palm Beach Fire-Rescue North Station at 300 N. County Road; Palm Beach Fire-Rescue Central Station at 355 S. County Road; Palm Beach Fire-Rescue South Station at 2185 S. Ocean Blvd; and Town of Palm Beach United Way office at 44 Cocoanut Row
Donations: All non-perishable foods accepted. Checks made payable to Town of Palm Beach United Way or gift cards from Publix or other grocery stores
Questions: Call 820-3800