By Jane Smith
The Community Caring Center of Palm Beach County merged April 1 with a larger nonprofit geared to feeding hungry people from Boynton Beach.
The CCC was about to start a fundraising program last September to build a 5,000-square-foot commercial kitchen in east Boynton Beach.
That’s when City Commissioner Ty Penserga contacted one of the center’s board members, said Doreen Robinson, the board president. He suggested that the CCC talk with Feeding South Florida, a much larger group with a commercial kitchen under construction west of the interstate, on Park Ridge Road.
“We talked with Feeding South Florida and learned there are duplicate services between our groups,” Robinson said. “We can be more effective together. They provide meals and food at about one-third of our costs.”
Boynton Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency paid $205,000 for the CCC’s building at 145 NE Fourth Ave. on Jan. 31 and provided an extra $45,000 for relocation assistance.
“The CRA and the CCC did not enter into a formal agreement to sell the organization the CRA-owned vacant parcels at the corner of NE Ninth Avenue and NE Third Street,” Michael Simon, CRA executive director, said in an email. “CRA staff recommended handling the two transactions separately in order to protect the Agency from an unforeseen circumstance such as a merger between the CCC and Feeding South Florida.”
Under a deal with the CRA, the CCC will stay at its current location until the end of June, when the merger will be completed.
The new kitchen on Park Ridge Road will be named Feeding Palm Beach County Community Caring Center. That 5,000-square-foot kitchen should be finished in mid-April, Sari Vatske, executive vice president of Feeding South Florida, told Boynton Beach commissioners on March 3.
The warehouse will be named the Community Caring Center.
Sherry Johnson, the chief executive who has been the face of the CCC for nearly three decades, announced her retirement in late March.
In a press release, Johnson said she feels confident that her life’s work has been placed in the competent hands of Feeding South Florida.
Robinson and Nancy Flinn, CCC board vice president, are serving on the organization’s Palm Beach County advisory board.
“We will continue to serve the 300 frail and elderly seniors who live in the heart of Boynton Beach,” Robinson said. “We operate a senior caregiving program with our own Veggie Mobile.”