BOCA RATON, Fla. — Boca Helping Hands has multiple events scheduled this month to help families facing food insecurity.
September is "Hunger Action Month," a month-long campaign to raise awareness about hunger in the U.S. and promote ways for people everywhere to get involved to help those in need.
This month Boca Helping Hands is asking for help from the community as they work to assist about 180,000 Palm Beach County residents struggling with food insecurity.
The charitable organization said the pandemic caused a 29 percent increase in people struggling to put food on the table.
"Hunger Action Month is a reminder that there are local families and children who do not know where their next meal is coming from and, as a community, we can help," said Greg Hazle, executive director of Boca Helping Hands. "Unfortunately, the resurgence of the pandemic is likely to make matters worse."
The organization's Hot Meal Program provides food six days a week at their East Boca Raton location.
Patrice Delorantis said the food helps to supplement her family's income.
"There's five of us in the family. It helps us with the food, and if my husband doesn't have work, which he usually does, but sometimes he doesn't have work," Delorantis said.
She and others are among the thousands of people in the county dealing with food insecurity.
"If it wasn't for my buddy giving me a ride ... I wouldn't even be able to get food," said Adam Shuman.
In addition to distributing food on Tuesday, workers at Boca Helping Hands were also helping people with rental assistance and medical needs and signing them up for job training classes.
"We have 30 different ways on our calendar in which people can participate," Hazle said. "Perhaps the biggest ways that they can do this is to participate in our Thanksgiving turkey distribution. They can contribute to the cost of a box."
Boca Helping Hands is also partnering with Florida Atlantic University this Saturday that includes free football tickets.
"The other big event is happening Sept. 11, in collaboration once again with FAU at their first home football game," Hazle said. "They are accepting donations of cereal which will come to Boca Helping Hands in lieu of the cost of a ticket, so you bring a box of cereal, you get into the game for free."
Other initiatives scheduled this month include opportunities to advocate, volunteer and raise needed funds.
"They can conduct a food drive in their neighborhood, in their school or in their church, for example, to tangibly contribute to the efforts that are going on this month," Hazle said.
Visit the Boca Helping Hands website to learn about their calendar events scheduled for "Hunger Action Month."