By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
For five Tuesdays this summer, an enthusiastic team of volunteers will deliver a meal and more to children living in four low-income neighborhoods in the Lewes and Rehoboth area.
The meal, a bag lunch including fresh fruit and milk, is provided through the Food Bank of Delaware’s summer mobile meal program. The “more” includes a visit from the Cape Henlopen School District’s Bookmobile, and plenty of positive interaction from two volunteer teams.
Chris Miller-Marcin, a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lewes, arranged the meal program as part of her personal ministry, Feed The Children Heart & Soul Ministry.
She has recruited a group of volunteers that set up (and dismantle) the sites, take care of the necessary record keeping, and offer a friendly smile to children and their parents.
This team always likes to go above and beyond. For example, on Wednesday the adults (mostly retired professionals) took time to read books to the children, blow bubbles with them, chat with them, and read stories to those willing to sit and listen.
Miller-Marcin believes that human connections are as important as the nutritious meal.
“I don’t want to just feed them. I wanted to make sure had a literacy piece. It’s sharing knowledge in a family setting. We read to them, and that’s important, particularly with everything that is going on in the world today. I hope maybe they remember us, and that when they grow up, they will volunteer,” she said.
At the first stop in Burton Village, the volunteers spread a tarp under a shady tree and covered it with donated fleece blankets, giving it a more inviting appearance, not to mention a lot more comfort.
Subsequent stops each week are West Rehoboth, Savannah East and Jefferson Apartments.
The Cape Community Bookmobile follows the Food Bank volunteers, and a team of six teachers and administrators step out of the van, some of whom know the children by name.
The bookmobile visit, explains Donna Kolakowski, is part of the Delaware Readiness Team effort. She leads the Readiness Team and the bookmobile squad.
Kolakowski, Cape’s elementary education supervisor, takes over this part of the visit. These volunteers unload tubs of books, sorted by grade level, then invite the children to pick out what they like.
The purpose, of course, is to keep kids reading in the summer.
“We bring the books to them,” she said.
Each child gets to select two books to take home and keep.
“Last year, we gave out over 1,500 books.”
For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s programs or how to volunteer, visit www.fbd.org.