The Loading Ramp in Belle Glade was a hotbed of activity last week, with hundreds of people gathered at the normally empty lot. The area buzzed with movement, with dozens and dozens of volunteers helping to feed local residents through the distribution of food cartons.
The event took place on Friday, June 12, at 10 a.m. At the end of the day, hundreds of pounds of fruits, vegetables, bread, and other items were given away, with organizers reporting a successful event.
The food giveaway was spearheaded by the offices of Melissa McKinlay, Palm Beach County commissioner, State Senator Joseph Abruzzo, and State Representative Kevin Rader, with 500 food cartons being provided by Farm Share.
Commissioner McKinlay, much like the many other community leaders in attendance – including Belle Glade Mayor Steve Wilson, Pahokee Mayor Colin Walkes, and Royal Palm Beach Vice Mayor Richard Valuntas – did not hesitate to take part in the heavy lifting, and were seen helping residents cart their food to their cars.
“That’s one of the things I’m most proud of: to see that countywide support for helping people in the Glades,” said Commissioner McKinlay. “It helps a lot.”
Local support included The Glades Initiative, which was on-site to provide informational material to residents needing additional help. The Glades Initiative, which partners year-round with food bank sites throughout the Glades, also helped coordinate distribution of any leftover food from the event.
Kelley Burke, aide to Commissioner McKinlay, was also more than happy to lend a helping hand.
“We’re all aware of the need for nutritious food in the Glades, and this was a great way of incorporating the good deeds of Farm Share [in that effort],” said Ms. Burke.
Farm Share, a non-profit organization based in Homestead whose mission sees it resorting and packaging surplus food for distribution to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, churches and more, was an important partner in last week’s event, and was present to ensure the food distribution event was successful. Farm Share, through its food program, serves more than 1 million families each year with 23.4 million pounds of food.
No pre-registration was required for the event, and organizations report that all who came for food received food.