• Health
  • Other
  • Parenting

These local organizations can provide essentials in a pinch

Woman holding bread at food bank

In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:

1. Is there help for kids?
2. Who gives referrals?
3. What about school supplies?

Palm Beach County parents who need help providing food or school supplies for their children might be surprised by how many local organizations are there to back them up.

Feed the Hungry Pantry in West Palm Beach is one of hundreds of programs under the umbrella of the Palm Beach County Food Bank, based in Lantana and funded by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, where families can get help finding food.

Take Sonia Perez, a mother of four children. She decided it was time to leave a bad marriage but soon found herself struggling to keep food on the table.

She heard about the food bank through her job and got through a rough patch by picking up bread, meat, sandwiches, vegetables and pastries twice a week, she says.

“They helped me with food, clothing and other things my children and I needed,” Perez says. “I appreciate what they did for me. I hope others can get the help I did. I’m thankful.”


In addition to the work of its partner agencies, the food bank operates Lois's Food4Kids, a year-round nutritional program that gives students a food-filled backpack each Friday for the weekend.

“We know there are thousands of kids who can benefit from this and all of our programs,” says Perry Borman, former executive director of the food bank. “Too often, the school lunch is probably the most significant meal of the day.”


Also, the 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast hotline can refer individuals or families to an agency that can help with school supplies or find a food pantry or feeding program, says Patrice Schroeder, 211 community relations specialist.

Another option is United Way of Palm Beach County, which offers programs that assist with meals or school supplies, says Lexi Savage, former senior vice president of communications and resource development. Right before a recent school year, United Way ordered eight, 18-wheelers filled with school supplies that were delivered to schools serving primarily low-income students.

“About 41 percent of the population of Palm Beach County is living paycheck to paycheck,” Savage says. “So if there’s a crisis, such as a car breakdown, they’re financially vulnerable. They’ll stop spending money on food.”


The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, which helps low-income students get uniforms, launched the Red Apple Supplies program to help give school supplies to needy students, says Laura Bessinger-Morse, the foundation’s former program officer.

Teachers at qualified schools — with at least 95 percent of students in the free- and reduced-lunch program — can get supplies for students and deliver them in the classroom.

“We know there is a tremendously high level of need in our school system,” Bessinger-Morse says. “And we’ve been asking teachers what it means when a student doesn’t have the supplies they need. They’re anxious when they have to borrow materials. Also, many teachers tell us they can’t assign some projects because they know students can’t afford the supplies.”


• Perry Borman, former executive director, Palm Beach County Food Bank
• Patrice Shroeder, community relations specialist, 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast
• Lexi Savage, former senior vice president of communications and resource development, United Way of Palm Beach County
• Laura Bessinger-Morse, former program officer, Education Foundation of Palm Beach County

You May Also Like

    • Other
    • Parenting
    • Safety

    Is your family facing homelessness? Don't be afraid to ask for help

    Agencies in Palm Beach County work together to help families find stable housing. If you're on the verge of homelessness, here are all the details from our local experts on how rea …

    Read More
    • Health
    • Other
    • Parenting

    Need a break? Reach out for range of help for special needs

    If you're raising a child with special needs in Palm Beach County, read on for details on the many organizations that are here to help. From respite services to equipment, assistan …

    Read More
    • Other
    • Parenting
    • Things to do

    BLOG: From owl feedings to archery – lots to do at local parks

    Does your family need a little fresh air? Maybe a few hours away from a screen and some time to talk, walk and bond? Look no further than your local county park . . . …

    Read More

Related resources

    • Health
    • Other

    The Glades Initiative

    A list of sites in the Glades community that provide food, clothing and other helpful resources

    561-996-3310 Website
    • Other

    Extended Hands Community Outreach

    Provides basic necessities, such as food and clothing, to families in West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach

    561-670-8503 Website
    • Other

    211 Palm Beach Treasure Coast

    A helpline providing information, assessment, referral, telephone counseling, crisis intervention and suicide prevention, as well as online chats from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

    2-1-1 Website
    • Health
    • Other

    Palm Beach County Youth Services

    Summer Food Service Program — provides meals and snacks to children during the summer at sites throughout the county

    Call 866-348-6479 or text FOOD to 877-877, both operated by a USDA partner Website
    • Health
    • Other

    Catholic Charities Diocese of Palm Beach

    Angel Food SNAC (Serving Nutrition to Area Children) — eligible children in Pahokee receive a weekly bag of food for weekend meals

    561-360-3323 Website
    • Health
    • Other

    Palm Beach County

    Community Action — distributes non-perishable food to low-income families on a regular basis

    561-355-4792 Website
    • Health
    • Other

    Palm Beach County Food Bank

    Fights hunger through four programs and supports nearly 200 partner agencies with food, resources and services; based in Lantana

    561-670-2518 Website
    • Other

    United Way of Palm Beach County

    A variety of local support and services, including programs to fight hunger, decrease homelessness, help children graduate and assist children with special needs and support mentoring

    561-375-6600 Website