In what felt like an overnight change in March of this year, our community saw 300,000 people experiencing food insecurity, a 200% increase because of the economic impact of the coronavirus.
The Florida Department of Families reported a 380% increase in the number of SNAP applications processed between February 2020 and May 2020, and a 42% increase in SNAP applications processed between April and May.
When a family is food insecure, it means they don’t know where their next meal will come from. Nearly half of PBC households are in a financial position where they must make hard decisions between whether to pay for rent or utilities or buy food.
Fortunately, more than 100 community partners have been working together to fight hunger through United Way of Palm Beach County’s Hunger Relief Plan since 2015.
We are grateful for every dollar that has been donated to United Way through our COVID-19 Response Fund and our Hunger Relief telethon to help feed our neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table each day. With the generosity of our community, United Way has connected our network of partners with resources to fight hunger.
We wanted to share some recent collaborations that are helping people have access to healthy food every single day. We are proud to highlight a few of our amazing partners and show you the ways that your generous donations were put to work in our community.
YEP is one of our Mentor Center partner agencies turned food pantry. At the onset of COVID-19, they identified the need for a food pantry in the community they serve. United Way connected them with resources for their food pantry and provided them a refrigerator to store fresh food items. Watch their story here.
United Way’s Hunger Relief team created this interactive tool so anyone, anywhere in Palm Beach County can find hot meals, food items, and affordable produce near them. More than 53,000 people have utilized this resource since it launched this summer. Use it to find food near you.
Our Hunger Relief team assisted the Area Agency on Aging and their providers at The Volen Center and Palm Beach County Division of Senior Services in creating a meal distribution model for seniors. These partners worked to decrease the number of seniors on a waitlist to receive home delivered meals from over 1,200 seniors to zero, and even serve additional clients. They deliver an average of 33,000 meals weekly in Palm Beach County. If you are 65+ and need a home delivered meal, click here to get connected.
United Way of Palm Beach County provided a grant from our COVID-19 Response Fund to help stock Healthy Mother’s Healthy Babies diaper and food pantry for local families and helped coordinate the transportation of these items to their warehouse. They are serving 53% more children, providing 75% more diapers, and 229% more formula each month than they were before the onset of the coronavirus. Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies CEO, Michelle Gonzales, shared how United Way’s support is vital to their operations. Watch it here!
This weekly food pantry went from feeding 3,000 individuals a week to more than 10,000 a week during the height of the coronavirus! They provide 120+ pounds of produce, meat, and other food items to each family. We leave you with this sweet reminder that the families and children that we are helping will not soon forget the kindness (and food!) they have received when they needed it most.
We love to celebrate the resiliency and innovation of our partners, but there is more work to be done. If you would like to make a donation to help us continue to build infrastructure, feed more families and support our community, please donate here.
To learn more about our hunger relief efforts, please visit our Hunger Relief page.