Personal Reflections from the President & CEO

Danielle N. Hartman, MNM
President & CEO

Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States and sponsors Hunger Awareness Month every September. According to Feeding America, today, nearly 50 million or 1 in 6 people in the United States are hungry.

Locally, the situation is not much better. A recent Feeding South Florida study shows Palm Beach County has the highest percentage of “food insecure” individuals in South Florida; 202,110 people do not know where they will find their next meal and 63,660 children go to bed hungry. United Way of Palm Beach County reports 41 percent of households are walking a financial tightrope in Palm Beach County and may be one unexpected expense away from hunger; 12 percent live below the poverty line and an additional 29 percent earn more than the poverty level but less than the basic cost of living. (The New Hungry, Athena Ponushis, Florida Weekly, June 11, 2015). In the most recent "food insecurity" survey conducted in Palm Beach County, 1 in 3 households with incomes less than or equal to $35,000 ran out of food before they had money to buy more. During a door-to-door survey of a sample of households with children in Palm Beach County, 20% of these households cut the size of children’s meals because there was not enough money for food. We cannot turn our heads from the face of these grim statistics. JFS is facing this issue head on and reaching out and putting food on the tables of hundreds in our community.

The Jacobson Family Food Pantry distributes over 100,000 pounds of food annually consisting of non-perishable groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables and challah every other week free of charge to people experiencing serious financial difficulties. Founded in 1996, the Food Pantry was established to ensure that no individual or family in our community goes hungry.

JFS’ Meals on Wheels Program provides nutritionally balanced prepared meals which allow seniors to age in place safely for as long as possible. Through the help of our volunteers, over 24,000 meals are delivered each year.

Many underlying factors can cause food insecurity. Unemployment or underemployment, mental health issues, emergency expenses, and domestic violence are all areas that can impact ones financial situation and therefore their ability to purchase a sufficient amount of food. As with any JFS program or service, clients are automatically connected to our JFS family regardless of which program or service they were originally introduced to the Agency and can access a variety of other programs and services to enhance and improve their quality of life.

Those who are interested in volunteering at the Jacobson Family Food Pantry or for the Meals on Wheels Program should contact Nadine Greenberg, Director of Volunteer Services at 561.852.3333 or nadineg@ralesjfs.org.

Together with your support, we can partner in helping to eliminate hunger in our community.

B'Shalom

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