Published On: Tue, Sep 22nd, 2020

PBC Community Services Available to Support Residents During Pandemic

Even prior to the pandemic our residents have grappled with over the past six month, food insecurity was a real issue for many. These issues have only been exacerbated by furloughs and layoffs.

During the crisis, Palm Beach County and the nonprofit community have collaborated to establish a safety net of services to assist families pushed to the edge by this crisis.

The following is some very important information for many of our struggling residents. 

Included in this article is information on the expansion and changes to the School District of Palm Beach County’s BreakSpot Grab ‘n Go sites.

Department of Community Services Food Assistance:

The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, through its Community Services Department, is providing direct assistance for food to eligible residents of Palm Beach County under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The County will issue prepaid debit cards to approved residents to purchase food. Eligible residents who have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of COVID-19 and who are at or below 140% Area Median Income may apply.

The one-time benefit allowance is based on household size and maximum amounts is listed.

Only one card will be given out per household, and all expenditures must be made by December 30, 2020.

Applicants must present evidence their household was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to qualify to receive the prepaid card. Supporting documentation must be provided to prove income eligibility, such as last a pay stub or last filed tax return, valid government issued ID and Social Security card.

Residents who have received assistance for rental and utility services through the CARES program may apply for the food assistance without uploading additional documentation.

Eligible residents may apply for food assistance at pbcgov.com/OSCARSS

A list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

For more information, contact CSD’s Contact Centre at 561.355.4792.

The following is s short, online survey for parents and caregivers to help the County identify the best ways to improve food resources delivery. The county wants to ensure that children and families have access to food as the pandemic continues.

Link to survey: survey.pbcgov.com/s3/PBC-FOOD-FOR-KIDS             

The information provided will not be used for any other purpose and is strictly confidential. Please note there are drop downs in the survey questions that provide the opportunity for the responder to share additional information. After the survey is completed there is a landing page that provides additional information for food resources. 

Where to Find Food:

Palm Beach County Food Finder Map – An interactive tool using Google Maps is available to help people easily locate free food and hot meals in Palm Beach County. This online tool was created to connect individuals seeking food resources to sites near them.

Information is available in English, Spanish, and Creole.

United Way updates the information listed on this map weekly. However, since locations and hours of distribution can change, please consider calling the site prior to visiting to verify information listed.

Please note that sites may have specific requirements such as ID. Please visit  UnitedWayPBC.org/hunger to view the map.

Click here 221’s comprehensive summary of Food Sites. When you click this link, please scroll down for links to information about Food Sites/Pantry Information/Food Distribution information.

Click here to find food through Feeding South Florida

Click here to find food through Palm Beach County Food Bank

School District of Palm Beach County feeding sites are open as follows: Breakfast and lunch are free to all students attending school in-person on campus. The District will also continue to have free Grab-and-Go curbside meal pickup for those who have elected to continue distance learning for students 18 years of age and younger (22 and younger for ESE). 

Grab-and-go meals will continue to be distributed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, please check here for times and locations.

The curbside pickup will contain at least three (3) breakfasts and three (3) lunches per kit. Schools eligible for the supper and snack programs will also be providing three (3) supper meals and three (3) snacks per kit.

The times and specific locations on campus for the curbside Grab-and-Go will vary by school. Food distribution will be available at more than 100 District-operated and charter schools throughout the County. 

Grab-and-Go meals will be distributed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Parents or children must bring one of the following forms of identification to receive meals at the food distribution sites:

  • Student ID Badge
  • Student Barcode Letter (found in child’s student
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate, or
  • Library Card.

The adult picking up the meals can also bring a picture that has themselves and the children for whom they are picking up food, in the photo.

A facial covering or mask is also required for meal pickup.

You do not need to visit your child’s school for food distribution. You are welcome to visit any location of your choice.

Pick up is either in the bus loop or parent pickup area of the school.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided a waiver to allow parents/guardians to pick up meals without the child being present. The parent will show the identification to staff providing the meals. Staff will scan the bar code for each child, and meals will be provided for the number of children identified.

Meals cannot be picked up in bulk for multiple families. The parent or guardian must be present to receive the meals.

Meals provided vary by location and may contain allergens. Adults picking up the food are asked to be vigilant and ensure they do not take food if allergies may be a concern.

Food should be refrigerated or discarded if not consumed upon receipt.

The USDA has approved free meals for all to continue through December 31, 2020 as long as funds are available. All children are eligible for free meals, regardless of their original meal status. 

Families that would meet the eligibility guidelines for free or reduced-price meals are still asked to submit an application if they have not already been approved to ensure the School Food Service has them approved for future meal benefits, when the all free meal program ends.

Additionally, the applications assist schools with obtaining other resources and programs for those students.        

For the health and safety of everyone, facial cover or mask is required when picking up meals at any school feeding site. 

To limit person-to-person contact, please remember to adhere to social distancing. Those driving to one of the feeding sites are asked to open the trunk of their car or leave a seat open where staff can place the food.

People walking up to a site should remember to maintain a distance of at least six feet. These measures are taken very seriously and are intended to keep everyone safe.

Click here FLIPANY food distribution locations. 

Click here for information about Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County distribution locations distributing

Grab ‘n Go bags and other food. To find a Grab ‘n Go site near you, please visit the website, Text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 or call 2-1-1.

Click here “We’re Open” linkand online map and list of businesses that are open in Palm Beach County.

The City of West Palm Beach also has a comprehensive list of open restaurants, “West Palm Eats.” Click here to order.

Hospitality Helping Hands –  Wednesdays 3 – 7PM Grocery distribution (while supplies last) at 3950 Georgia Ave. Web hospitalityhelpinghands.org

Police Athletic League – Saturdays 9 – 11AM: Provides a drive-up, no contact, weeks’ worth of groceries to make meals at 720 N Tamarind. Phone: 561.835.7195

CROS Ministries – The Caring Kitchen – Serving The HUNGRYDRIVE-THRU MEAL DISTRIBUTION: Tuesday and Thursday 11AM – 1PM at Cason United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall, 342 N Swinton Ave. Delray Beach.

TO GO MEAL DISTRIBUTION:

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday Noon – 1PM in the Delray Beach Public Library’s parking lot (100 W Atlantic Ave Delray Beach). 

Tuesday and Friday from Noon – 1PM outside of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (near the shower truck), 404 SW 3rd St Delray Beach.

Community Food Pantries – Pantry clients can now come twice a month to receive a pre-made bag of food. Click here for pantry times and locations. 

Bag lunches continue to be given out at Cason United Methodist Church every Saturday from 9 – 9:30AM. Clients who are homebound receive their weekly meals on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Food Pantry from the Coalition for Independent Living Options – Available by appointment for individuals living with disabilities. Email or call to set up an appointment. Phone: 561.966.4288 x105 or Email: [email protected]

Basics 4 Babies – Call for availability. Program offers formula, baby food, and diapers for children ages birth-3 to families in Palm Beach County. Phone: 561.623.2800 Email: [email protected]

Area Agency on Aging, in partnership with The Volen Center and Palm Beach County Department of Senior Services, and TooJay’s is providing meal packs for seniors over the age of 60. If you are a senior or know someone who is in need of food assistance, they can call to register for this service by calling the Area Agency on Aging Helpline at 866.684.5885.

Farm to Families Food Boxes – Program has been extended through October 31, 2020. A list of current BOA holders and more information about the Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchases is available at ams.usda.gov/selling-food-to-usda/farmers-to-families-food-box.  The boxes contain between 30 and 40 pounds of food and include protein and dairy in addition to produce.

Meals on Wheels of Palm Beach County (MOWPB) – During COVID-19, MOWPB has temporarily adjusted their meal operations to provide seven frozen dinner meals along with three breakfast meals each week with deliveries once a week.  In addition, seniors who are normally mobile but are unable to shop due to COVID-19 are being served on a short-term basis with the 10 meals delivered weekly at no cost. To setup service, call 561.802.6979 x6.  Meals on Wheels of Palm Beach County serves those individuals age 65 and over who are home bound due to age, infirmity or debilitating illness and are unable or struggling to food shop and prepare nutritious meals.  Clients are either living alone, or with their spouse/partner who may also be home bound or who may be the full time caregiver.

Online Grocery Purchase Pilot Program: Florida’s Online Purchasing Pilot program successfully launched initially on April 16 and expanded statewide on April 21 with Amazon and Walmart. As of September 18, 2020, 235,930 online SNAP transactions occurred through Florida’s new Online Purchasing Program. DCF continues to coordinate with the US Department of Agriculture, the Florida Retail Federation and other state and local partners to expand the network of retailers participating in the pilot program and encourages all interested retailers to visit USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service website (fns.usda.gov/snap/online-purchasing-pilot) and its online resource site for retailers to learn more about becoming a SNAP internet retailer at fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/resource-files/online-SNAP-for-retailers-requirements.pdf

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP): U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities and program adjustments to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).  The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. For more information please visit: farmers.gov/cfap?utm_source=fsareferral&utm_medium=landingpage&utm_campaign

SNAP –  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has expanded the benefit sign-ups to five Library locations.Mondays & Tuesdays, 10AM – 4PM.

Hagen Ranch Road Branch (14350 Hagen Ranch Rd Delray Beach). Contact: James Vil at 561.517.7533 Mondays, 10AM – 4PM.

Jupiter Branch (705 Military Trail Jupiter). Contact: Mario Mendez at 561.345.5085 Tuesdays, 10AM – 4PM.

Main Library (3650 Summit Blvd West Palm Beach). Contact: Riquet Lucien at 561.316.0895 Wednesdays, 10AM – 4PM.

Glades Road Branch (20701 95th Ave S Boca Raton). Contact: Mario Mendez at 561.345.5085 Fridays, 10AM – 4PM.

Lantana Road Branch (4020 Lantana Rd Lake Worth). Contact: Mario Mendez at 561.345.5085 

Members must make an appointment by calling the numbers above. They can also email the food bank at [email protected] to schedule appointments or ask questions.

Additional Information from DCF: Maximum Monthly Allotment
The Department of Children and Families has temporarily increased all Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients’ benefit amounts to the maximum monthly allotment based on household size for the months of September, and  October (pending federal approval). Additionally, any new households approved for food assistance will receive additional benefits within a week of being approved for benefits. Please note, customers who are already receiving the maximum allotment will not receive an increase. Please contact DCF’s Customer Call Center at 850.300.4323 or 866.762.2237 or visit myflfamilies.com/covid19/access.shtml for more information.

Recertification Extension: Recertifications are required for existing food (SNAP), cash (TANF) or medical (Medicaid) benefit recipients to determine continue benefit eligibility. Households are required to complete the recertification process every four, six or twelve months to evaluate the household’s current situation and to provide information on household composition, income, assets, and expenses in order to continue to receive benefits.                     

After waiving recertifications since April, the Florida Department of Children and Families will begin to reinstate recertifications in September.  All clients required to recertify in September and subsequent months will receive notification and a timeline to comply. The department stands ready to assist Florida’s benefit clients if needed through the recertification process which can be done virtually and through the self-service portal. Medicaid recipients will remain eligible for the duration of the public health emergency as declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.                      

If you have questions regarding the recertification process, please visit: myflorida.com/accessflorida. Additionally, DCF’s virtual agent or chatbot stands ready to assist clients by providing case information and answering benefit questions.                                    

Work Requirements Waiver: In Florida, Able Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) are individuals who received SNAP food assistance benefits and are subject to the work requirements. ABAWDs must meet monthly work requirements.Recipients of TANF cash assistance must participate in work activities. The Department of Children and Families suspended work requirements through October, allowing Floridians to focus on caring for themselves and their loved ones at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This flexibility is intended to support individuals and families during this transitional period, while also providing them with the resources they need to pursue job opportunities and eventually attain their own version of economic independence. Local CareerSource Boards have reopened and are on standby to assist with these efforts, and they are also working to offer safe, virtual options. The Governor has directed DCF to postpone the reinstatement of work requirements through the end of October. If you have received a notification stating you are subject to work requirements or that you may be penalized due to failure to meet work requirements, please disregard. No action is needed by those clients and no penalties will be applied.

Maintain Medicaid Eligibility: DCF will maintain Medicaid eligibility for current recipients through the end of the state of emergency. This means no Medicaid recipient will lose Medicaid eligibility during the state of emergency. Recipients who received a termination notice in the month of March had benefits automatically continued. 

Extend Time to Complete Medicaid Application: During this state of emergency, individuals applying for Medicaid may be unable to submit all the documentation required to process their application. Beginning with applications received in February 2020, the state is extending the timeframe for individuals to submit any necessary paperwork to 120 days from the date the application was received. If the Medicaid application is approved, the individual’s Medicaid eligibility effective date will still be the first day of the month that the initial application was received.      

Pandemic EBT or P-EBT: Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) is a supplemental benefit for households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals due to pandemic-related school closures.Please see P-EBT Frequently Asked Questions document at this link: myflfamilies.com/covid19/docs/PEBT%20FAQ.pdf. Florida’s implementation is specific to our state and our schools. There are additional questions on the updated FAQs to clarify the process.The update above and other updates regarding public benefits can be found on DCF’s COVID-19 web pages: myflfamilies.com/covid19/access.shtml.

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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