Local nonprofit delivering groceries to vulnerable seniors during pandemic

November 5, 2020

Right now, Project Thanksgiving is officially underway. The partnership between CBS12 News and the United Way of Palm Beach County aims to make sure every family has a warm meal this holiday season. The initiative is entering its 30th year, but the need for hunger relief is greater than ever before as families continue to struggle with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. One group that’s particularly vulnerable, our community’s senior citizens. The Pearl Mae Foundation is on a mission to help.

Year-round, the serve low income, at-risk seniors by assisting with co-payments and medical bills, facilitating home improvements as well as stepping in to help financially with meeting other daily needs. Lauren Sullivan, the executive director of the Pearl Mae Foundation says, once the pandemic hit in March, they realized a shift in need of seniors. Their biggest concern quickly became. ‘how can we get food?’ That’s when they started Pearl’s Pantry, helping families in the Jupiter area like Loretta and Charles McDonald. The couple, who simply cannot risk leaving their home as Charles has serious underlying health issues that could put him at a greater risk for being infected with the virus, looks forward to the delivery each week.

Volunteers with Pearl’s Pantry will drop off bags of groceries right to the doors of vulnerable seniors. There’s a little bit of everything inside like fresh meat, fruit, and veggies as well as household items like toilet paper and cleaning products. “It’s exciting,” said Loretta. “It’s like, ‘Oh gosh they’re bringing food. I only had a pound of hamburger left!” Her husband added, “And they really changed their mission from who they were to what they are now. To me, that is just a wonderful thing to do in these times.” Sullivan says she has also seen a positive impact on the mental health of the seniors they serve. “Being able to see a smiling face once a week has had a huge impact on them.”

Here’s where Project Thanksgiving comes in. Over the next few weeks, the partnership between CBS12 News and the United Way of Palm Beach County will help raise money and collect food donations so nonprofits and charities like The Pearl Mae Foundation can ensure the families they serve, can enjoy a warm meal this Thanksgiving. There are several ways you can make a difference including by joining a virtual telethon Friday, November 6th from 6:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. Just $20 can feed a family of four.