“Rapid Response Team” is Rekindling Spirit of Neighbors Helping Neighbors During Pandemic

Reunites Nurse and Homeless Woman She Helped in the Past
 

The Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund at Palm Health Foundation was created at a time of crisis to assist Palm Beach County residents during the 2020 pandemic with emergency assistance for rent, food and medical needs, but its roots lay in the belief that we are all our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. That is the spirit that guides the “Rapid Response Team”—a new coalition comprised of Palm Health Foundation, BeWellPBC, youth leaders at the EJS Project and the Palm Beach Atlantic Volunteer Nursing Corps—a group that reviews the stories that come to them through a community survey of residents trying to cope with the medical and economic repercussions of COVID-19, and then takes immediate action to provide financial assistance through the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund, services and referrals.
 

Through the Rapid Response Team, Dr. Fontaine Timmer, director of the Palm Beach Atlantic Volunteer Nursing Corps, had a second chance to give a hand up to a formerly homeless mother she had first encountered in 2018.  To Anne, Dr. Fontaine is her “angel,” someone she “wants to make proud.” Dr. Fontaine found Anne when she was living in her car with her children behind a Palm Beach County church just before Christmas in 2018. Never seeing the reality of a homeless mother before, Dr. Fontaine said, “It changed my life.” She became Anne's support system, finding a hotel room for her and her children to spend Christmas, connecting her to a family homeless shelter and becoming her cheerleader and inspiration as Anne sought and received a certification to become an assisted living administrator and start school to become an licensed practical nurse.
 

When COVID-19 caused Anne to lose her income, she was in danger of not meeting her rent and didn’t have money to pay for the essentials for herself and her six children, now reunited and living together after being separated while homeless. Anne turned to Dr. Fontaine once again, but this time a group of angels from the Rapid Response Team gave her the hand up she needed, with the EJS Project designating Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund monies for rent and a $500 gift card for necessities. Anne is finding ways to make income again while continuing her studies to better her children and to show Dr. Fontaine and her team of angels that, “the money you invested in me wasn’t in vain.”