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The New Us: New program feeds families in need, while keeping local farmers in business

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Fresh RX Kids and Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County launch ‘Farm to Family’ program; aims to feed families in need while keeping local farmers active. (Farm to Family)

Local organizations are teaming up to feed families in need while keeping local farmers in business during the COVID-19 crisis.

The new program is called Farm to Family and it was started by Fresh RX Kids and Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.

"Fresh RX believes food is medicine and so our goal is to provide nutrition to hospital patients and children, so they get the proper nutrition to support their immune system which is really important right now,” said Margaret Duriez, co-founder of Fresh Rx Kids and Lox Farms.

Joseph Chammas, the owner of Gratitude Garden Farm in Loxahatchee, is just one of more than a dozen local farmers participating in the program. Before COVID-19 brought the nation to a halt, he was growing crops and produce to be sold to restaurants and busy farmer’s markets.

“We really had to readjust. We had to pivot, and we had to adapt to current times,” Chammas said.

Each Friday, cars line up as volunteers distribute a week’s supply of fresh, healthy produce, can goods, dry goods, and protein.

“They’re getting straight from the farm to their table, instead of 20 different hands touching the produce,” Chammas said.

The produce that's given to local families likely would have gone to waste if it wasn’t for the new food assistance program.

"It's been great. Mostly because we were able to keep a lot of our employees,” Chammas said. “We had to let go of a couple but the fact that we have some revenue coming, in to be able to keep people employed is important."

So far, Farm to Family has served more than 4,000 children and families from the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and Fresh RX Kids created a Go Fund Me page to help fund Farm to Family. The link to donate can be accessed here.

Donations from the community will support the collection and delivery of fresh produce to help those who need it.

In addition to Farm to Family, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County has also expanded its free food programs to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks seven days a week to all children under the age of 18.

For more information, click here.