TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The pandemic has been hard on a lot of families in our community, but several organizations have stepped up to help them make ends meet.
Second Harvest of the Big Bend is one of the handfuls of local organizations working to help with food, healthcare and utilities in Tallahassee.
"The poverty rate in Leon County is very high," Monique Van Pelt, CEO of Second Harvest of the Big Bend, said.
They have partnered with the City of Tallahassee, Big Bend Area Health Education Center and others to host neighborhood empowerment events every other week in different neighborhoods around Leon County.
It's an effort that has been going on for months.
"I think there's a lot of people in our community here in Leon county who are living paycheck to paycheck and any disruption in that paycheck, an unexpected medical bill or car payment or any kind of disruption to that check to check lifestyle could really put someone in a bind," Van Pelt said.
The US Census Bureau says 17.6% of Leon County lives in poverty.
Van Pelt said they're working to give those most in need a boost.
Big Bend Area Health Education Center is also pitching in with health education.
"A problem that we were having is during covid getting into the communities that needed our services."
Social distancing and COVID protocols have made access to important healthcare difficult in parts of the Big Bend.
So they've partnered with Second Harvest to reach those most in need.
"Others are so grateful for us being there and you just maybe they didn't know that they could qualify for health insurance or maybe they didn't know that they could get free nicotine replacement therapy."
Grateful to have a chance to meet people in the community while doing some good as we try to move past the pandemic.
The next Neighborhood Empowerment event is Jan. 22 at 1200 Tharpe Street from 9 a.m. to noon.