BELLE GLADE — Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County has expanded its free lunch and healthy snack program from five days a week to seven days a week due to a dramatic spike of need over the past week in certain areas of the county. The growing program is done in cooperation with the Juvenile Transition Center.
The Belle Glade Teen Center, 350 S.W. Tenth Street in Belle Glade, will offer lunches and snacks for pickup to feed children seven days a week.
Each weekday, lunch and snack are provided to all children under the age of 18 using a drive-thru style distribution system from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Friday, lunches for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be distributed.
“This is the second expansion of this vital program since the COVID-19 crisis. At some of our clubs, we are now preparing and handing out 200 meals a day. We decided to expand to seven days a week because of the intense need and lack of services in some neighborhoods,” said Jaene Miranda, CEO and president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.
“We can’t take for granted that all children have meals to eat on the weekends. This expanded free lunch program ensures there is no food insecurity during this critical time,” said Stephanie Mingo-McKoy of Juvenile Transition Center. “This expansion is also important because the food is being distributed in neighborhoods where the need is greatest.”
At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the free lunch program was initially started to help Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County members. After seeing the demand in the community, the program was quickly expanded to all children under 18. In its second week, the program has been expanded to seven days a week.