When the Food Bank of Delaware white van pulls into the parking lot of Ernie’s Country Store near Woodside, there’s already one little boy leaning against the side of the cinderblock building.
Ms. V. asks about his siblings as she checks his name off the list. Today, they are sleeping in, and he’s getting their food, he explained.
He – let’s call him T. – he is 9-years-old and attends the local elementary school where his favorite subject is math.
T. answers questions politely before he starts walking home. “I live in the neighborhood,” he said. He crosses at the corner, then walks south on Millchop Road and is out of sight before he turns off.
Melrose Paddy, a resident of the area, walked down with her granddaughter.
The neighborhood includes three rural housing areas – Paris Villa, London Village and Meadowbrook Acres – separated by rural, yet heavily trafficked, roads.
Paddy said she was unaware of the program until she saw the truck, and that’s when she talked to the driver and got her granddaughter’s name on the list.
“I live here, and I’m an active volunteer,” said Paddy, adding that she was pleased with the program.
The Grab and Go meals are assembled by volunteers at the Food Bank and given out every weekday, with additional meals supplied for the weekend on Friday. Meals usually include a sandwich, snack, milk, and bottled water. Grab and Go offers kids a flexible, convenient way to get healthy, free meals over the summer months. Unlike traditional summer meal programs, this program allows children to take their meals home to consume.
“We are doing a lot more than just feeding kids. It’s a community service,” said Kim Dickerson, the Food Bank’s Children’s Meal Coordinator.
One in six children in Delaware is food insecure, and according to Feeding America, nearly 13 million children nationwide face hunger. Food insecurity, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is considered an Adverse Childhood Experience, which can create life-long problems. Lack of proper nutrition impacts physical and mental health as well as academic achievement, according to the CDC’s website.
The Grab and Go program is made possible thanks to:
• The Harry K Foundation
• Giant Food’s Our Family Foundation
• Citizens Bank
• Islamic Relief USA
• Share our Strength
• Kraft Heinz through Feeding America
• Enterprise Rent-A-Care Foundation through Feeding America
For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware and our hunger-relief efforts, visit www.fbd.org.