Published On: Wed, May 14th, 2014

Community Unites to Stamp Out Hunger

???????????????????????????????The National Association of Letter Carriers is the union of city delivery letter carriers working for the United States Postal Service. Every year they hold a food drive on the Saturday before Mother’s Day to combat hunger, where, with the use of postal networks, letter carriers will collect non-perishable food donations on that day as they deliver mail along their postal routes.

Taking part in what is considered the nation’s largest single-day food drive, the Boca Helping Hands was able to count on a small army of volunteers, for a total of 75 people. The groups of volunteers came from several community sectors including Leadership Boca, Wells Fargo, Bloomingdales, the Rotaract Club of Palm Beach State College and the Rotary Club of Boca Raton, Boca Raton Regional Hospital, as well as numerous fraternities and student groups from FAU.  Many of the volunteers brought their children and grandchildren so that families were able to work together to attack hunger in our community, “The weather was perfect for the event; there were people of various ages; there was great community involvement,” said Margi Cross of the Junior League of Boca, who brought a group of 11 volunteers to lend a hand.

Boca Helping Hands Executive Director James Gavrilos expressed his gratitude towards everyone who supported the event, “It was amazing. We had such great diversity of individuals helping out; it was wonderful to see the community come together.” While trucks arrived with the canned goods, the students from Boca Helping Hands’ new job training program (Esperanza Catering) served food all afternoon and evening, gaining valuable hands-on experience as they complete their training and look for gainful employment in the local hospitality industry.

For some local businesses and individuals this was their very first time attending the drive, which is the case of the team at Bloomingdales, and according to general manager Paula Pianta, they look forward to participating again in the future, “Boca Helping Hands is a remarkable organization. Bloomingdales is always happy to support their efforts and mission of feeding the community.”

Other institutions like the Boca Regional Hospital have been long-time supporters of the Boca Helping Hands. The hospital not only supports the BHH’s efforts to end hunger in the community, but they also hold their own food drives every year, where employees, patients, volunteers, and visitors to the hospital collect hundreds of pounds of canned goods and non-perishables, which are then donated to BHH. Executive Director of Revenue Cycle Services Rudy Braccili emphasizes, “We “not for profits” need to stick together in support of those suffering and in need within the Boca Community. We have no better partner in this mission than Boca Helping Hands.” Also in attendance was Boca Regional Hospital’s CEO Jerry Fedele himself, once again demonstrating what a united community is able to do, “As an organization who has benefitted greatly from the generosity of our community in terms of both volunteerism and philanthropy, the opportunity for the entire Boca Regional Hospital team to support our partners at Boca Helping Hands was very gratifying.  The efforts to break the pattern of dependence by providing our neighbors in need with basic nutritional support and lifelong skills to take control of their lives is critically important to maintaining a healthy community for all of our neighbors.”

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