Although many aspects of our communities exude abundance, we actually have some serious problems with food insecurity. For example in Palm Beach County, one in five children are food insecure and 3,549 kids identify as homeless. With an average price of a meal in Palm Beach County as $3.19, our program is able to provide food at a cost per meal just over $1. Feeding South Florida asserts that 63,660 children in Palm Beach County go to bed hungry. For many youth born into poverty, school food is an essential safety net.
Our Fuel Pack programs have helped youth have healthy food items on the days that they don’t have school or community programs helping with their nutritional needs. Distributed on Fridays, youth in our programs can take the items home and use their cooking skills and nutritional information to develop healthy lifelong food competencies.
Our food has supported the good health of students at the following programs:
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School 50 Children
Boys and Girls Clubs 100 Children
Youth Empowerment Centers 100 Children
Police Athletic League 50 Children
After School Programs 100 Children
We’ve also learned that many youth aren’t sure how to cook, chop or prepare their food. We began showing students how they can use the items in their fuel pack to create healthy meals and snacks.
Here is some of the feedback we’ve received from our youth participants:
“Cooking is fun”
“the responsibility of following instructions is important”
“this is fun and should happen more often”
“oats are a whole grain and a good source of fiber”
References: United Way Palm Beach County, Feeding South Florida, USDA, Survey Results from Poverello’s Youth Cooking Class
In addition to Youth, Poverello has collaborated with programs like Idea Exchange in Miami’s wound care clinic. Through this initiative, we helped the unsheltered with wound care problems receive healthy fuel packs to address adequate nutrition. This aids healing of wounds by supporting the body’s needs for nutrition.
Daily, at Poverello, we see an increasing number of the unsheltered seeking food. We provide items donated to us to assist in the nutritional needs of those living on the streets.