PALM CITY, Fla. — The need for resources along the Treasure Coast remains at an all-time high one year into the pandemic.
The House of Hope is working to overcome hardship and hunger in Martin County by providing fresh fruit and vegetables to those in need.
"This is something where we can make a substantial difference to families every day," said House of Hope volunteer Paula Hundt. "Every day people have food insecurity, and it doesn't say that across here."
Hundt began volunteering at the greenhouse farm off Martin Highway four years ago.
"Not all food pantries always have the opportunity to have fresh vegetables like this," said Hundt. "This is really a unique project."
"We've got seniors, single moms, kids who have recently aged out of foster care," said House of Hope CEO Rob Ranieri.
Ranieri said the demand for help has caused him to have to expand his space.
An additional greenhouse next to the current location is now in construction.
"We harvest twice a week out here now," said Ranieri. "We have everything on staggered growth patterns."
Prior to the pandemic, Ranieri said the House of Hope was servicing 4,000 Martin County residents. That number has now doubled.
"It's increased dramatically with COVID," said Ranieri. "We're reaching over 7,000 a month, and health and nutrition is a big part of what we're trying to help them deal with."
Ranieri said diet and nutritional education help children become better learners and parents better earners.