BELLE GLADE, Fla. - The tough economy has hit families right in the gut and when it comes to food. It's estimated that children in Palm Beach County go hungry at a rate that's three times higher than the national average.
One organization that's trying to change that is Kettle Comfort.
This new charity is looking to end hunger in Palm Beach County starting on Thanksgiving day in West Palm Beach.
When 120 kids get out of school and head to the Boys and Girls Club in Belle Glade, a pack of crackers and a juice are waiting for them, according to Veronica Bettard of the Boys and Girls Club.
"Everyday it's probably juice and crackers or some chips; baked chips or sun chips or fruit or something like that," she said. "That's what our budget allows."
A tight budget means cheese crackers and a Capri Sun has to hold the kids over until they're picked up, which is sometimes 8 p.m.
"They're always asking for extra snacks," Bettard said.
But the days of grabbing a drink out of the cooler and a snack are about to be over because starting this Thanksgiving, Kettle Comfort will begin giving them hot meals. Dishes like jambalaya, red beans and rice, butternut squash soup and chicken penne pasta are just a few of the dishes they will be delivering to places like the Boys and Girls Club.
"Oh wow," Bettard said. "I think it's a plus that they're doing this, because a lot of our children may go home and not have anything to eat at all."
That may be partly due to the 40 percent unemployment rate in the surrounding area.
"In those situations feeding becomes a little more profound," Outback Steakhouse co-founder Tim Gannon said.
Gannon is starting the Kettle Comfort mission to feed Palm Beach County in the Glades at places like the Boys and Girls Club, but he's hoping to feed the entire county too.
After the Thanksgiving holiday he said they will have the capacity to give 1,000 meals a day, but with donations he says they can do more.
"We'll be able to do 2,000 to 10,000 meals a day through a special concept of kettles," Gannon said.
That means pre-making them on a kettle and bagging the food so they can be heated up and delivered to those who need it most in the county.
"I'm not promising anything more than giving people a full belly and a big smile on their face," Gannon added.
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