Published on January 31st, 2021

by Tim Moffatt

Beautiful, fragrant flowers grow from the refuse and detritus of carbon-based life forms; it’s the circle of life. However, as human beings we can’t always see the forest through the trees, despite knowing it’s there.

The pandemic has smacked everyone around like a raging bull stalking the streets of Pamplona and despite the vaccine, the threat is hardly over. In situations like this we are, truly, in this together. No other organization has personified that sort of unity as Hospitality Helping Hands aka H3. When the ongoing virus shut down bars and restaurants the group immediately began providing free meals at Howleys Restaurant to laid off service workers. It quickly became incredibly clear, however, that assistance was urgently needed for many other people. The first day at Howleys saw 800 people show up, so the group opened the initiative to anyone who lost a job to COVID-19 and then expanded distribution to six additional locations: essentially preparing thousands of hot meals each week. All of this happened within the first few months of pandemic.

H3 soon realized that folks in Palm Beach County needed more help than just a hot meal. In response to this need, they started a grocery distribution center at what is now becoming the Peach. Immediately lines stretched south on Georgia Ave all the way to Forest Hill, choking the street with folks in need. The grocery distribution was helping around 1500 families each week. Unfortunately, hard decisions needed to be made and the hot meal program had to be discontinued to focus on the grocery distribution, which was then relocated to the Port of Palm Beach. In its new location, the H3 has consistently helped feed 1000+ families per week.

What has been laid bare by COVID-19, is the hidden need to care for those in our community who are unable to make ends meet. This need for civic action is now being answered once again by H3, who are planning an expansion to their grocery program. A new home base is being scouted that will re-start the hot meal program and encapsulate grocery distribution. The new H3 home base will also expand on the needs of the community by offering a center for training in the hospitality industry and mental health assistance for anyone in need.

As the adage goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” In this time of political turmoil, a raging pandemic and ridiculous conspiracy theories it’s comforting to know that our neighbors have taken the time to help everyone prosper. Stop and smell the flowers; from shabby beginnings begets a lovely end.

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