Boca Raton, FL — Boca Helping Hands (BHH) recently expanded its food distribution schedule in Lake Worth as part of the organization’s hunger relief efforts in Palm Beach County.
For the first time, BHH is now serving weekly hot prepared to-go meals to the Lake Worth community on Friday evening from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm at Proclaim Church (2116 Lantana Rd, Lake Worth, FL 33462). This initiative is an extension of the organization’s six-day-a-week Hot Meal Program at its main facility in East Boca. This program is open to anyone and no identification is required.
This service is being added due to the growing need within the community for hunger relief assistance. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the area north of Lantana Road and east of I-95, only a half-mile from the Lake Worth distribution site, is considered to be low income. This means the poverty rate is 20% or greater, or the median family income is less than or equal to 80% of the statewide median family income.
Since the expansion began on Feb. 25, 572 to-go meals have been distributed to families in need in Lake Worth. After seeing the need in the community first hand, the Rev. Dr. Andrew D. Hagen, a BHH board member who previously served as the church’s pastor, offered the church’s facilities as an expansion site for the organization’s Hot Meal Program. With the help of a grant from his family’s foundation, the initiative was implemented last month.
“When the idea of adding a Hot Meal Program was offered to us, we were enthusiastic about continuing to assist hard-working families and financially challenged seniors,” Hagen said.
Proclaim Church also serves as one of five distribution locations for the organization’s Pantry Bag Program. In addition to Lake Worth, qualifying Palm Beach County residents living at or below the poverty level are eligible to receive pantry bags of groceries in East Boca Raton, West Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and Delray Beach, including non-perishable staples such as rice, pasta, beans, fresh seasonal produce, and protein. Distribution at Proclaim Church in Lake Worth occurs on Saturdays from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm and averages about 575 pantry bags distributed per month. Registration is completed in person during a client’s first visit.
“We have been able to expand the footprint of our hunger relief efforts largely through the support of our partners in the faith community, who have made their facilities available to us,” said Greg Hazle, Boca Helping Hands’ Executive Director. “Our partnership with Proclaim Church has been a critical factor in successfully serving the greater Lake Worth community since June 2020.”
Information on how to register for the Pantry Bag Program, hours, and distribution locations can be found on at BocaHelpingHands.org/PantryBagProgram.
Individuals looking to volunteer in Lake Worth to help with the Hot Meal Program and Pantry Bag Distribution at Proclaim Church can contact Will Torres at (954) 793-8376.
To help those who may need further assistance, BHH has partnered with the Palm Beach County Food Bank to help individuals in this community sign up for federal and state benefits such as SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid. This service is free of charge and available by appointment on Fridays from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at Proclaim Church. The goal is to help individuals who may not have access to a computer or need assistance navigating the intricate application process. Since the start of the Benefits Outreach Program at Proclaim Church last June, 159 people have been registered. To make an appointment, call Giselle Davila at (561) 513-0096.
In addition to receiving hot meals and pantry bags of groceries, Lake Worth residents may also be eligible for emergency financial assistance with rent and utilities, partial reimbursement for childcare expenses, and healthcare vouchers for medical, dental, and behavioral care services (for those who are uninsured). Requirements and additional information about how to apply for financial assistance can be found at BocaHelpingHands.org/ResourceCenter. Additional information for how to obtain healthcare vouchers can be found at BocaHelpingHands.org/Healthcare.
About Boca Helping Hands
Boca Helping Hands (BHH) is a community-based nonprofit that provides food, medical and financial assistance to meet basic human needs as well as education, job training and guidance to create self-sufficiency. Through its various programs, BHH assists over 27,000 people annually.
In 2021, BHH distributed more than 70,000 pantry bags from five Palm Beach County locations and served nearly 80,000 hot meals. The organization expands access to affordable medical, dental and behavioral care through its partnerships with Genesis Community Health (serving clients at clinics in Boca Raton and Boynton Beach) and Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing Community Based Clinics (serving residents in West Palm Beach). In addition, BHH sends weekend meals home with food-insecure elementary school students via the BHH Backpacks Program and assists working families with the rising cost of childcare through the Children’s Assistance Program (CAP).
With an increased focus on client self-sufficiency, BHH awards scholarships for qualified candidates to attend accredited vocational training classes that prepare them for careers in the healthcare, information technology, construction, and transportation industries. BHH also offers free English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes, courses in nutrition, and other life skills. In addition, staff and volunteer mentors counsel the unemployed and underemployed in basic workplace skills and help them polish resumes and search for jobs.
Boca Helping Hands is a partner agency of The Town of Palm Beach United Way. Since 1945, the Town of Palm Beach United Way has been committed to improving lives and building strong communities throughout Palm Beach County by focusing on programs and priorities that promote education, health, and financial stability.
Charity Navigator named Boca Helping Hands a Four-Star Charity for the 15th consecutive year in June 2021. Boca Helping Hands is located at 1500 NW 1st Court, Boca Raton, FL 33432. For more information, please visit BocaHelpingHands.org.