Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Bank of Delaware relied heavily on volunteers to help sort food, pack meal boxes for seniors and backpacks for kids in school.
Since March the virus outbreak stressed not only the state’s healthcare resources, but also rattled Delaware’s economy. Stay-at-home orders shut down service and retail sectors, leaving many residents seeking unemployment and SNAP (formerly known as food stamp) benefits.
Thanks to volunteers like the Davis family – both parents and five children ranging in age from 11 to 18 – the Food Bank was able to distribute more than 3 million pounds of food with the help of community partners and mass drive-through distributions in all three counties since March 16.
Melinda Davis, Wilmington, is a stay-at-home mom who was seeking a meaningful volunteer family activity. She and the kids volunteer during the day, while her husband takes an evening shift.
They started volunteering more than two months ago – prior to the state shutdown – and have found the experience very rewarding. At the Food Bank’s Newark Volunteer Room, the family forms an assembly line to box up meals that are distributed statewide.
Then schools closed, and the family commitment continued.
“It’s heart-breaking that there are so many people in need,” Mrs. Davis said. “It’s nice to have the time, and it’s been such a blessing for our family.” She noted that their volunteer shifts remained a priority.
“We were not an overscheduled family, so for us it was school, exercise, and volunteering at the Food Bank,” she said.
Mrs. Davis says she encourages others to donate to the Food Bank as well. “We are grateful for the Food Bank. If you have the money, donate, and you have the time, donate time. We’re happy to help. It’s important to get in there and see what food insecurity is like.”
Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Food Bank of Delaware, and volunteers are always needed at both the Milford and Newark sites to help pack meal boxes and backpack meal kids for children at risk of weekend hunger. Sponsorships are also available: It costs $197 to provide a child with weekend food for one school year.
Visit www.fbd.org to learn how you can help meet the needs of hungry Delawareans.