Ensuring that families have access to nutritious foods and community resources is critical. According to Feeding America, it is estimated that more than 50,000 residents of Kent and Sussex County were food insecure in 2021.

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and population growth in Kent and Sussex Counties are driving these increases in demand. Since 2010, population growth in Kent and Sussex Counties has increased by 12 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively.

To help meet this immediate need, the Food Bank of Delaware opened its Healthy Pantry Center in 2019 by creating space within the conference room for this service. Last year 2,684 households were served through the pantry.

The pantry offers curbside service to neighbors in need. Boxes of food and refrigeration line the conference room and building entryway, and Food Bank staff and volunteers bring out carts full of food to visitors’ cars. The pantry’s current operation is not feasible; as a result, the Food Bank is leasing space in the current industrial park to operate the pantry and house office space until the new facility is built.

Our goal in the new facility is to create a hybrid pantry model where neighbors can choose curbside pick up or select items most needed for their household from pantry shelves.