Nearly 20% of St. Lucy County children were considered “food insecure” in 2020.
This means “a lack of consistent access to adequate food for an active, healthy life,” according to the USDA.
Lucy County Boys and Girls Clubs responded by opening a new pantry for their members to supplement groceries. The Chuck Hill Club in Port St. Lucie unveiled the store, which is not open to the general public, at their September 15 event.
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Boys & Girls Clubs family members can visit the store – either with their kids or during club hours from 2-7pm Monday through Friday – when they’re running out of staples like dairy, protein, veggies or starches.
An estimated 100 families will benefit from the store.
“It will be used based on needs,” spokeswoman Marisa Nightmare said. “We aim to provide club members and their families with everything they need, so the items they receive will be largely based on that family’s needs.”
GL Homes renovated the boys and girls’ clubhouses in St. Lucy County’s Storage Room
GL Homes renovated its 300-square-foot club storage room. The residential builder installed shelves, provided a stand-alone refrigerator and freezer, and donated $20,000 to keep the store in stock for about six months.
“No one can be expected to learn, focus, or grow on an empty stomach,” said company spokeswoman Sarah Allsofroom. “Hunger is an urgent need that must be met.”
Nightmare said the club hoped to maintain the project afterwards through similar collaboration with other community partners.
The ribbon-cutting party attracted quite a few people who heard the news, but did not understand that the store was for club members only and not for the general public.
Esther Cepeda of Port St Lucy and her relatives did not leave empty-handed. The club asked her to fill out a form indicating the items she wanted in her bag, and gave her information about a community food pantry where she could go to in the future.