Collaboration focuses on helping most vulnerable Delawareans

February 28, 2023

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child, and the Food Bank of Delaware is an integral part of our village, particularly when our goal is to support healthy children and their families. So, we create partnerships and coalitions with other agencies who share those goals. There’s more to health care than medications and immunizations, and if anyone knows that firsthand it’s Mathius Manzillo, a non-clinical care coordinator at one of Nemours Children’s Health. Nemours has 26  centers in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and Mathius is an embedded care specialist for Seaford.

Part of Mathius’ responsibilities is to ensure the youngest Delawareans are cared for by a Nemours doctor at regular wellness visits; these check-ups also provide an opportunity to confirm that their families have adequate food and shelter. During the Christmas season, the parents of a 2-week-old child visited the center for a check-up and told the doctor they struggled to have enough food for their family. Mathius – trying to provide for this patient – emailed the Food Bank of Delaware and connected to our Benefits Outreach Coordinator Melissa Campino.

“We connected with the family, and they had a desperate need. They spoke no English at all,  but we used a translation service and we powered through,” Melissa explained.

Mathius was grateful for her help. “It was amazing. Melissa did not just offer resources for food,” he said. The patient’s family spoke no English, only Haitian-Creole. “She was able to provide all the resources they needed. We used interpretative services so she could connect with the Mom. They developed a good rapport,” Mathius added. The family was able to sign up for SNAP benefits, Amazon home delivery, and WIC for the infant.

Through ongoing conversations with Mathius – with a mutual goal – the pair have collaborated to serve other families as well. “We’re reaching people who would fall through the cracks. I gave him a ton of resources – all the flyers the Food Bank has, and he uses me for resources all the time.”

After many hours of conversation resolving this family’s issues, Mathius said he has found support from the Food Bank – through Melissa – for other families as well. “Her Spanish background makes it easier for them. You can hear the passion she has in her voice. The most important thing is she makes them feel comfortable because of her Spanish speaking. We’re here to help, and it benefits their health,” he explained.

“It’s difficult to communicate, and they are scared. All I care about is the patients, helping them get what they need, so they gain from the relationships we have outside Nemours. I will be reaching out to Melissa again.”

And that’s what she likes to hear. “We do what we can,” she said.

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