Organization Will Match Federal Funding with Portion of MacKenzie Scott Gift
Since 2015, United Way of Palm Beach County has been the trusted leader of the county-wide Hunger Relief Plan through the contributions of significant funding, coordination of resources, and advocacy to alleviate hunger in our community. On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, the Palm Beach County Commissioners approved $4,529,858 under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding to be released to United Way of Palm Beach County to continue this important work.
“This funding is absolutely critical to address hunger relief needs and create sustainable solutions for our community,” said Laurie George, President and CEO, United Way of Palm Beach County. “We could not do this important work without the County’s partnership, and we look forward to seeing how this investment in critical infrastructure will allow us and our hunger relief partners to provide more nutritious food to more people.”
This multi-year funding from the Board of County Commissioners will provide funding assistance for the expansion of hunger relief systems that will increase food bank storage and food processing capacity. United Way of Palm Beach County is providing an additional $4 million investment in hunger relief efforts from the $10 million gift received in the fall of 2020 from MacKenzie Scott. The overall goal of this initiative is to alleviate hunger in the short-term while also promoting Palm Beach County residents’ self-sufficiency in the long-term.
Funding will be used to increase food bank capacity with expansion and enhancements to the current food distribution programs, including working with the Palm Beach County Food Bank to operate a commercial kitchen and food processing facility, expanding food bank storage capacity, and purchasing equipment, such as forklifts, pallet jacks, and scales, to ensure that the facility is fully functional.
The additional warehouse space will have tremendous benefit to the community by featuring an enhanced volunteer center, space for additional programs such as senior food programs and other community services, space to process fresh produce, an area for food preparation, and a commercial teaching kitchen to be used for job training programming, nutrition education classes, and fundraising events with local chefs.
The anticipated outcomes of this project include: increasing the volume of nutritious food distributed to Palm Beach County residents experiencing hunger; providing economic opportunities for the community through low-cost office space for nonprofits and local entrepreneurs, job creation, and workforce training; and ultimately, significantly reducing the number of food insecure PBC residents.
Since the collective work on the Palm Beach County Hunger Relief Plan commenced nearly seven years ago, the Palm Beach County Government has been a vital partner to addressing hunger relief needs in our community. Through the dedicated partnership of the County and 180 other local community organizations, Palm Beach County saw an 8% reduction in food insecure Palm Beach County residents, including a 17.2% reduction in food insecure children by 2019 (Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap Report). Still, more than 181,340 residents in Palm Beach County struggle with hunger; 52,580 of these residents are children who do not have enough to eat on a daily basis.*
*Gundersen, C., M. Hake, A. Dewey, E. Engelhard (2021). The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity in 2020 & 2021, Update March 2021 [Data file and FAQ]. Available from Feeding America: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For media inquiries, please contact Nicole Hernandez, Director of Brand Experience, at NicoleHernandez@UnitedWayPBC.org.