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West Palm Beach Police Athletic League Center works to help children during coronavirus pandemic

Local restaurant feeds PAL students hot meals
Posted at 3:05 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 17:35:20-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Staying connected during the coronavirus pandemic was difficult for one West Palm Beach non-profit organization who serves once of our most vulnerable populations, our youth.

At the Police Athletic League in West Palm Beach, a goal was being fulfilled.

"Our ultimate goal is getting kids off of the street into the PAL Center," said Lee Lipsick, a board member for the PAL Center. "It’s been extremely important to interact with them. We tried to stay open as long as we could."

But the mission to give children a safe space became even more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Keeping the connection is what we are trying to do," said Lipsick.

Virtual check-ins and Zoom parties became the new norm, then the PAL Center was able to expand its services.

"When everything started shutting down, they reached out to us. What could we do?" said Lipsick.

During the lowest point of their business, the owner of Leila Restaurant in downtown West Palm Beach volunteered to help the PAL Center and he said the reaction made it it worthwhile.

"They are waiting for us basically every Friday. I love to see that," said Alex Awad, the owner of Leila.

In more than eight, weeks Leila has fed more than 400 PAL students hot meals.

"As a community, if we can help, we should come together and do something," said Awad.

Leaders with the PAL Center said they’re hoping to reopen soon.

"The kids that come into the PAL are really great nice kids and they want some place safe and educational, where they can go," said Awad.