Palm Beach County is the tenth-largest school district in the country, and more than 60 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch. For many, breakfast and lunch at school may be the only meals they eat in a day. Through the Lois’ Food4Kids program, the Palm Beach County Food Bank serves more than 3,600 children during the weekends and summer to help fill nutritional gaps. To help support the children they serve, the food bank is asking for the community’s help in a $50,000 matching grant initiative from local philanthropist Lois Pope through Monday, August 31.
Supporters can donate to the campaign in two ways: directly to the program on the food bank’s website and through social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Pope will donate $1 each time an individual “likes” or “shares” her posts about the Lois’ Food 4Kids program and the nonprofit organization.
“No child should ever go hungry, here in Palm Beach County or anywhere else in this country,” said Pope. “Those of us who are more fortunate have a responsibility to help ensure that these children have access to nutritional meals on a daily basis, especially since schools are now closed. So, I invite others – in fact, I urge others – to join me in this vitally important effort. And it’s easy to do so with this new social media campaign.”
Earlier this year, Pope donated $1 million to the food bank to support and expand its Food4OurKids initiative for children, which was renamed in recognition of her charitable gift.
“We want to thank Lois Pope for her continued generosity,” said Marti LaTour, board chair for the Palm Beach County Food Bank. “Even before COVID-19, one in five children in the county was going to bed hungry on a nightly basis. Through the Lois’ Food4Kids program, we are able to provide nutritious meals during the summer and weekends to thousands of students. There is an enormous need to fill this food gap and we invite the community to take part in this campaign that will help so many children in Palm Beach County.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Palm Beach County Food Bank doubled its food distribution efforts as more people are left without jobs and income. By June of this year, the food bank procured more than 10 million pounds of food from grocery stores, restaurants, food distributors, wholesalers, and other sources, and provided it to 200 local community partners and programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and residential housing programs. In June alone, the Palm Beach County Food Bank distributed 2,713,048 pounds of food.