October 2012 – The idea that Palm Beach County has residents who are food insecure shocks those that aren’t familiar with the County demographics. In fact, when people think of Palm Beach County the picture of mansions, expensive cars, beautiful beaches and luxury yachts comes to mind. This image couldn’t be further from the reality of our community and the many people that are food insecure.
In 2004, a food security survey conducted in Palm Beach County revealed that the number of households earning $35,000 or less a year that were food insecure with hunger was double the national average. In fact, 1 in 3 of these households ran out of food before they had money to buy more. Palm Beach County saw an increase of nearly 200% in the number of people receiving food stamps from 2007 to 2011. In addition, 56% of children enrolled in Palm Beach County schools receive free or reduced lunch. Throughout this period, several initiatives were implemented to address the issue of food insecurity. As effective as the initiatives were, the systems to provide food to those in need was still fragmented and inefficient. Community leaders, including Allegany Franciscan Ministries, worked to develop solutions to more effectively access and deliver food across the county.
Fast forward to January 2012 and the opening of the new Palm Beach County Food Bank! The Food Bank was established to address food insecurity in a comprehensive manner and to leverage existing food initiatives. It is the first locally operated food bank in Palm Beach County, providing key leadership in addressing the food supply chain, distribution and resources for more than 100 agencies and stakeholders. To date, the Food Bank has rescued/transported over 500,000 pounds of food monthly; in May the Food Bank set a record, transporting 700,000 pounds of food. In August, the Food Bank moved into its new home, a warehouse capable of supporting its food storage and processing needs.
Allegany Franciscan Ministries is proud to be a partner with the new Palm Beach County Food Bank. Collaborators and supporters of the initiative include the Palm Beach County Food Alliance, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Christ Fellowship, The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, C.R.O.S. Ministries, Lost Tree Village Charitable Foundation, Quantum Foundation, United Way of Palm Beach County and Village Baptist Church. For more information, check out the Food Bank’s web page www.pbcfoodbank.org.
October 24th is Food Day!
For information about events in your community, go to www.foodday.org