More than 400 families are without their weekly food supplements after a fire last week destroyed the Community Food & Clothing pantries at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
An early morning electrical short Aug. 28 sparked a blaze that gutted the interior of the pantry, which is operated by Club 100 Charities.
The Palm Beach Gardens-based service organization helps meet the needs of underserved families in northern Palm Beach County.
All food items, clothing and equipment were wiped out in last week’s fire, Club 100 Charities Director Harry Drier said.
Drier estimated the pantry lost up to $75,000 in refrigeration equipment, food, clothing and other items saved for distribution. Club 100 Charities does not have insurance to cover these items.
The pantry provides weekly supplemental donations of fresh vegetables, meats, fruits, canned goods, breads and other food items, as well as clothing and personal items to those in need.
Drier and his staff are looking for other ways to supply those donations to families who need them.
Club 100 Charities is working with the church to find another location on its campus to use as a temporary distribution site until the pantry is rebuilt. Drier estimates that could take from three to six months.
“We hope to stay in the same area because many of our clients walk to the food pantry,” he said. “We’re going to try and stay on campus.”
Though it has no food or clothing to distribute yet, Club 100 Charities has received a donation of Publix gift cards valued at $3,000, which it will distribute weekly for the next few weeks.
The organization also is seeking donations to purchase food, clothing and supplies to stock its temporary pantry.
To donate, visit www.club100usa.org.