Boca Helping Hands is in Need of Food and YOU CAN HELP!

July 15, 2011

 Boca Helping Hands Needs Food!

I ask that you take a few moments and read this message in its entirety.  In it, I try to explain the food distribution system…and more importantly why your assistance will be critical during these next two months.

As we enter the “slow” summer months, our schedules may have slowed down…and certainly the numbers of canned food drives that sustain our inventory have slowed down…but the demand for our services continues to rise.  Over the past year, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of Pantry Bags we distribute each month.  One year ago, we were distributing an average of 500 Pantry Bags each month.  Today, we are passing out nearly 1,400 bags of perishable and non-perishable groceries each month.  With each bag weighing an average of 25 pounds, this means we need some 35,000 pounds of canned goods each and every month.

While the weekly shipment we receive from the U.S.D.A. (via Feeding South Florida) certainly helps, it simply isn’t enough.  In fact, the USDA system is designed to provide only 30% of each agency’s needs.  The remaining 70% is to be supplied by each soup kitchen or pantry.  When we drive to the warehouse of Feeding South Florida every Thursday for our USDA pick up, we have no idea what “products” we will be receiving.  Some weeks, we receive canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned meats and juice. And some weeks, we receive 71 cases of pitted prunes!  The process is very simple:  Whatever surplus commodities the federal government is buying up…is then re-distributed to soup kitchens and food pantries.  We can only get what they are giving!  And some weeks, like this one…there is no USDA pick up.  For a variety of reasons, on occasion, the USDA trucks don’t complete their trips to South Florida, and hence, agencies are unable to pick up their weekly allotment of government subsidized food.  There might be fires in Chicago…floods in Nebraska or a work stoppage in Tuscaloosa…if the trucks can’t get through…they can’t get through!

The weekly pick up from the USDA is usually filled with canned vegetable products.  As we assemble those 1400 Pantry Bags each month, we add from the items that are donated directly to Boca Helping Hands from local businesses, schools and individuals. 

As a result, we have an ongoing need for: Soup - Tomato Products - Rice - Dried Pasta - Meat Products (Ravioli, Tuna, Chicken, Spam, et al) - Canned Fruit

                My dear colleagues…this summer, we have a critical need for the above named food items.  Right now, we have little to put into the pantry bags but canned corn and oatmeal…and whatever other items we cobble together.  We are therefore reaching out to you for your assistance.  On your next trip to BHH…bring a canned food item from the list.  You need not make a special trip to Costco to buy a case.  As you do your weekly shopping, pick up another can of soup…or ravioli…or an extra bag of pasta.  Get the word out to the groups in which you move…P.T.A., Church or Synagogue groups, Neighborhood Associations, etc.  Are you having friends over for a summer B.B.Q.?  Charge them “admission” by having them bring canned food items (from the list above).  Have a “pasta” party…or a “Canned Soup” party…and have all your guests bring that particular item.  Serve it as a meal and have a discussion about hunger and poverty in Boca Raton.  Have some fun with it…and simultaneously spread the word about the incredible need we are meeting on a daily basis here at Boca Helping Hands.

 With Respect,

James S. Gavrilos, Executive Director
 

 

 

 

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