March 29, 2021—BOCA RATON, FL-“Now that we have this food, we can use our money to pay some bills,” claimed one of 60 families who participated in the new Food Pool of the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY).
Thanks to a grant from the Town of Palm Beach United Way, AACY began a creative approach to helping sixty of their financially insecure families have nutritious food. The families selected their food from a list of options, which was then ordered by AACY and delivered via Instacart or Shipt.
The unique AACY project was headed by Cinthia Joas, MSW and AACY North County Team Leader. First, among the more than 450 Caregiving Youth families that AACY serves, the AACY team selected families most in need of food for this pilot program. Previously, AACY volunteer and philanthropist Arline McNally developed a successful mini food project using Instacart, which came about when COVID-19 struck last year.
When asked for advice about her experience, Arline commented on both the importance of families having input over what food they would receive, and the sense of joy experienced by those who delivered the food. Hearing about these 60 families in need, Arline stepped up to the plate to volunteer herself, her family, and friends to participate in this larger project.
“One of our daughters did an Instacart delivery to an AACY family. The Instacart shopper/driver was so touched by the family’s elation with the food gift, he called my daughter to ask for more information about AACY, so that he could get his church involved to help these needy families,” Arline said.
Dr. Connie Siskowski, AACY President and Founder, learned from Gloribel Jimenez, MSW and AACY Family Specialist that one of the young boys whose family received groceries, said that they never had so much food in his house at one time! Helping to meet the basic needs of families relieves some of the stress on our youth so they can learn. “It is one of the reasons why we do what we do at AACY,” Siskowski said.
AACY would like to continue its Food Pool project. To do so it needs and welcomes the support of the greater community. To donate to AACY, volunteer or for more information go to www.aacy.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 561-391-7401.
Founded in 1998 by Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD, what is now AACY currently serves more than 450 caregiving youth (with more enrolled each day), in 33 middle and high schools throughout Palm Beach County. Its Caregiving Youth Project (CYP), which began at Boca Raton Middle School in 2006 has served more than 1,800 caregiving youth and their families. In partnership with The School District of Palm Beach County, the CYP provides professional services in school, out of school and at home as well as supports students and their families with a myriad of needs-driven wraparound services with the help of collaborating partners. Each Caregiving Youth remains in the program more than five years.
The American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY) is a Florida based 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation that began serving the greater Boca Raton community in 1998. Today it is the only organization of its kind in the United States for addressing the issues surrounding the silent, vulnerable, and hidden population, conservatively estimated to exceed 5 million children ages 8-18 years who provide care for chronically ill, injured, elderly or disabled family members.