PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — According to Feeding America, 19% of children in Palm Beach County were food insecure in 2019. That means 52,842 children went to bed hungry.
The coronavirus pandemic has only made access to food more difficult for struggling families.
The WiseTribe group in Delray Beach is working to fill the gap for children this summer.
"It's really about well-being," Jacqueline Botting said.
Botting is the founder of the nonprofit. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, they were operating a food sustainability program in local schools. When schools shut down, they decided to change their operations.
"We realized that there was going to be a real impact on the neighborhoods of the schools that we serve and so we basically adopted 40 families," Botting said.
Botting said the World of Hummus at Delray Cafe is where they prepare produce boxes for the families.
"So every week we provide them with fresh produce and we check in with them. We've got, like, a wellness partner," Botting said. "So we're checking in seeing how things are going and really working to develop a relationship with them."
The School District of Palm Beach County will also continue its food service program this summer. The twice-a-week food distributions on Tuesdays and Thursdays will start June 2. Families can drop by from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 50 schools around the county.
From hot meals to produce, the WiseTribe won't be slowing down anytime soon.
"The world is filled with so many inequities that start with our food, so this is really an opportunity to raise awareness," Botting said.
In Lake Worth Beach, three days a week, the volunteers with Arms of Hope are also feeding a need.
"Hot meals, canned goods, whatever we're able to pick up from our partners," Patrick Livingston said.
Livingston has fed the community for eight years. He said the last couple of months have been the most difficult.
"We've doubled what we would normally do," he said. "The reaction has been grateful, as well as overwhelming, trying to adapt to this new way of life."
Livingston said the need got so great they had dropped down to three days a week instead of four.
"Because of the huge demand in food, we've seen a decrease in that, so we are not getting out on Fridays anymore," Livingston said.
Inside the restaurant, volunteers with For the Children are working overtime to prepare meals for those who need it most.
"We want to say thank you to the community partners who are out there behind us to get this done, Healthier Lake Worth, working with the city, who has been awesome with us," Livingston said.
Livingston said it's going to take the community coming together to get through this crisis.
"No question, more food is needed," he said.
To donate, click here.
To learn more about Arms of Hope food pick-ups, here.