Boca Helping Hands (BHH) provides food, medical and financial assistance to community members in need and offers job training, job mentoring and other resources to help them gain self-sufficiency.
What does Boca Helping Hands do?
Boca Helping Hands (BHH) provides food, medical and financial assistance to community members in need and offers job training, job mentoring and other resources to help them gain self-sufficiency. Founded as a modest soup kitchen in 1998, BHH has grown into one of the largest nonprofit service providers in Palm Beach County.
A staff of 16 and more than 300 dedicated volunteers now serve as many as 20,000 clients annually, offering a broad array of services under one roof. Focusing on the "whole person," BHH programs are integrated to meet the needs of individuals, children and families, many of whom have jobs, but still struggle to make ends meet.
How does your agency benefit the community?
BHH provides more than 1.45 million meals annually via our Pantry Program, distributing groceries to Palm Beach County families living at or below poverty level. At the BHH Food Center, volunteers serve more than 55,000 hot, nutritious meals a year. When people arrive to eat or pick up a pantry bag, BHH also shares information about services — offered in-house or by other agencies — that combat factors that contribute to poverty and hunger.
To address other underserved needs in our community — such as lack of access to medical care — BHH collaborates with a network of partners. For example, BHH works with Genesis Community Health to pay for uninsured clients’ first-time medical and dental visits at clinics in Boca Raton and Boynton Beach. Boca Raton Regional Hospital teaches free nutrition classes for BHH clients and brings its Mobile Health Van to BHH for free health screenings. These partnerships not only benefit our clients and expand coverage but help partners build trust with communities that often avoid medical professionals.
What is your agency's focus for the future?
Guided by its 2020 Strategic Plan, BHH aims to be a one-stop resource that helps people cross the bridge from basic needs to independence. With a growing focus on client self-sufficiency, BHH is working to expand the reach of its Job Training Program and professional development classes so that more unemployed and underemployed clients can find careers that support themselves and their families.
Currently, BHH funds scholarships to vocational schools that prepare students for in-demand careers in the health care, information technology, transportation and hospitality industries, but BHH is monitoring trends in the job market and is always looking to offer relevant programs that will readily lead to employment. BHH also hopes to sponsor more free one-day Job Readiness workshops for the public and expand class offerings for free English as a Second Language (ESOL), health and wellness, computer skills, and adult literacy courses to help even more people increase their workplace skills.
How can the community help?
BHH welcomes individual and group volunteers to assist with tasks like filling pantry bags, preparing and serving meals and mentoring Job Training students. Community groups often help by organizing food drives; nonperishable food donations are always appreciated, particularly in the leaner summer months. To continue serving our community, we also depend on the generosity of donors and encourage supporters to join our monthly giving program (Give a Hand), participate in our annual matching gift challenge (Nov. 1 through Dec. 31), attend our 14th annual Monopoly Event & Casino Night fundraiser (April 18, 2020) or consider a BHH legacy gift as part of their estate plan.
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