When the white Food Bank of Delaware van stops next to the neighborhood pool in High Point Mobile Home Community, children rush out – some with parents – to meet it.
Tonya, our driver, opens the sliding door to display stacks of coolers stocked with milk, water and a bagged meal. The children start to form a line as she reaches for a clipboard to mark off their names.
While many families think of summer vacation as time to play, go to the beach, and relax, for low-income families and their children, summers can be stressful due to food insecurity. Students can eat breakfast and lunch in school, but when schools are closed for summer break, those meals aren’t always available.
The Food Bank of Delaware offers a Grab and Go program which delivers bagged meals to participating low-income neighborhoods. Tonya drives one of our vans to the High Point site five days a week.
While High Point, a large community, is situated adjacent to busy Del. 1, it’s also what is known as a food desert. There are no nearby grocery stores, nothing within walking distance. Families must travel to Milford or Camden to buy food. Yes, there’s a nearby service station, but walking along a heavily trafficked highway is dangerous, and typically foods available on gas station racks are highly processed, full of sugar and fat, and overpriced.
“Where’s your brother,” she asks one girl who reaches for her beverages.
The kids know the routine: Everyone gets milk, water, and a bag. Today it contains fruit, yogurt, a bagel and butter, and another sandwich.
Some days, depending on the weather, as many as 52 children show up; if it’s too hot, they don’t come out, Tonya explains.
“I know them, but some don’t show up. They go stay with their grandmother. Some I haven’t seen for a week,” she said. ”I see that the kids are eating and I can talk to them. I don’t turn kids away. Sometimes I carry extra so I still have something to give them.”
“It makes it easier for my wife and I. It’s a good meal in the middle of the day,” he said, noting that his family enjoyed the meals.
The Grab and Go program is made possible thanks to:
- Kraft Foods
- The Harry K Foundation
- Giant Food’s Our Family Foundation
- Sallie Mae
- The New York Times through Feeding America
- Citizens Bank
For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware and our hunger-relief efforts, visit www.fbd.org.