Friday, April 12, 2024

The 561 Face of Boca Helping Hands’ Visionary

Boca Helping Hands 

Gary Peters, President, Board of Directors 

After experiencing Hurricane Wilma’s wrath in October 2005, leaving Boca Raton without any power, functioning grocery stores or service stations in sight, businessman and philanthropist Gary Peters learned about Boca Helping Hands from one of his employees who volunteered there. “I looked them up and asked if I could help buy groceries, and that’s how it all began,” says Peters. 

“It was fortunate for them and fortunate for me that someone followed up on me; the businessman who dropped off a check at Boca Helping Hands and waved goodbye. They contacted me to ask if I’d sit in on a meeting to see what they do, and I agreed because I was interested in doing something for the community. Their needs and my vision came together very quickly, and they asked me to take over as President of the Board in January 2006. I have served every year since,” says Peters. 

From an 850-square-foot space to the 14,000-square-foot headquarters where volunteers distribute food to 200 families daily, six days a week, Peters has been instrumental in the evolution of Boca Helping Hands. From a humble soup kitchen to a lifeline for the hungry to transition out of the food lines and into the workforce, with mentors to guide them and scholarships to support them, his vision has come full circle. 

“Each year, we meet the increasing demand for food assistance, now we’re planning to increase the support we provide to our job training students to include assistance with housing costs and transportation to the training centers, to their jobs, and back home. Without our volunteers and donors, none of this would be possible,” Peters reflects. 



This sponsored content is from the 2022 issue of Boca Chamber and the November/December 2021 issue of Boca magazineFor more from this year’s 561 Faces special section, click here.

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