When the coronavirus pandemic hit Palm Seashore County earlier this 12 months, philanthropist Lois Pope determined to present $1 million to the Palm Beach County Food Bank, the most important present within the nonprofit’s historical past.
The cash was used to assist and increase the meals financial institution’s kids’s program, Food4OurKids program, now renamed Lois’ Food4Kids.
Pope, the widow of Nationwide Enquirer writer Generoso Pope Jr., is a well known philanthropist whose causes vary from well being care to veterans to animal welfare.
However Pope’s contributions to hungry Palm Seashore County residents did not cease at her record-breaking monetary present. Moved by the continued demand for non-profit assets through the pandemic, the Manalapan resident gave one other $50,000 this summer season to this system.
Now with the pandemic stretching into the vacation season, Pope is at it once more. She simply donated one other $50,000 to the meals financial institution, and he or she is hoping others will contribute, too.
Pope urged residents celebrating Thanksgiving to consider kids with out entry to meals on this vacation, “after which be part of me in taking motion to vary this case.”
James Greco, interim CEO of the Palm Seashore County Meals Financial institution, mentioned Pope “has been an amazing supporter of the meals financial institution, and that is simply the newest present from her. We’re so we’re glad to obtain it, and it was utterly surprising.”
Pope is not alone in recognizing the meals demand disaster amongst residents arduous hit by the devastating financial impression of the pandemic.
Feeding South Florida, the main hunger-relief group serving South Florida, is sounding the alarm a few year-end cutoff in federal meals provides. The group mentioned it urgently wants $8 million a month to purchase meals to feed 40,000 to 50,000 households per week.
Since March, Feeding South Florida has supplied meals to 1.5 million individuals, with greater than 45% of recipients needing assist for the first time of their lives.
Feeding South Florida has supplied greater than 138 million kilos of meals to Palm Seashore, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
In Palm Seashore County alone, it has distributed 40 million kilos of meals, usually at drive-through distribution facilities arrange all through the county, together with each Monday on the Palm Seashore Shops mall in West Palm Seashore, mentioned Paco Velez, president of Feeding South Florida.
Against this, throughout the identical interval final 12 months, Feeding South Florida supplied a complete of 56.6 million kilos of meals.
Feeding South Florida was capable of present meals due to the Coronavirus Meals Help Program, a part of the federal CARES Act response to the pandemic.
Because the months have handed, nonetheless, the federal provide of meals has dwindled, although demand for meals in South Florida stays sturdy. Feeding South Florida’s allocation at first was 160 truckloads of meals per week in Might and June. Since then, the hundreds have decreased to 110 truckloads, then 60 hundreds and now solely 14 trailer hundreds per week.
Velez had hoped new federal coronavirus aid measures would swiftly cross after the Nov. 8 presidential election, however that hasn’t occurred up to now.
In consequence, he is involved not solely about the remainder of 2020 but in addition 2021 and past. Federal moratoriums on evictions are set to run out on the finish of the 12 months, that means households quickly will probably be grappling with months of unpaid lease owed, plus attempting to feed their households, Velez mentioned.
“Folks confuse the truth that eating places are open and households are again to work, and other people do not want meals,” Velez mentioned. “The fact is households will not be again to work as a lot as they had been earlier than the pandemic, and even when they’re beginning to return to work, they nonetheless need to pay again their lease or mortgage funds that had been placed on maintain due to the pandemic.”
Even after the pandemic ends with the administration of a vaccine, Velez mentioned it nonetheless will take from 18 to 24 months for many households to regain their monetary footing.
In a Wednesday phone name, Pope, a toddler of the Melancholy, famous how troubled she is by the county’s nice wealth disparity, made clear to her on this pandemic.
“It is arduous for me to imagine, as shut as we’re, Palm Seashore, to those poor sections, the place kids stay that do not have sufficient meals to eat, it is arduous for me to take that each one in,” Pope mentioned. “We stay so near them and we’re so nicely off and nicely fed, and by no means go hungry. … it is heartbreaking while you notice what is going on on.”
Because of the fortune left to her by her late husband, “I can do what I do,” Pope mentioned, “however I can not overlook the place I got here from.”
Lois’ Food4Kids is a year-round weekend and summer season feeding program designed to assist fill dietary gaps that kids face throughout these occasions. Whereas in class, these kids obtain free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch, however due to the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic, some kids will not be attending college, and Pope worries about kids who could also be lacking meals.
Greco mentioned Lois’ Food4Kids additionally offers meals in backpacks to highschool kids to allow them to take meals house for his or her households. The meals financial institution serves 10 colleges now, however Pope’s $50,000 donation will enable the meals financial institution so as to add yet another college for a 12 months, he mentioned.