New van enables improved service to hungry Sussex Countians

May 17, 2017

It’s easy to see that the Christian Storehouse in Millsboro is a bustling place.

In addition to the thrift store located just off U.S. 113, manager Steve Smith operates a food pantry that serves 300-350 families each month in the 19966-zip code. The Christian Storehouse is one of the Food Bank of Delaware’s 575 hunger-relief program partners, and it’s somewhat unique in that it only serves the 19966 zip code, the largest in Sussex County.

While he’s been able to do this well for over 20 years, the value of an addition to his fleet exceeds his expectations.

Near the loading dock sits a shiny new white van, a refrigerated van to be exact, and Smith is ready to point out how much the vehicle has improved service to his clients.

Thanks to a grant from the Walmart Foundation, Smith got the keys to this refrigerated van on a cold February day in Georgetown. He knew the van would benefit this ministry, but he could never have predicted just how much.

“It’s had a very big impact in making food available to clients,” he said, noting that he has been able to pick up more fresh food – fruit, vegetables, meats – from BJs Warehouse, Food Lion, Walmart, Redners, Weis, and Giant.

“I want to thank the Food Bank big time,” Smith said.

With the expertise of a newly hired professional driver, Christian Storehouse can pick up more perishables, including Rapa Scrapple in Bridgeville, produce from Weis and Giant, then chicken from Perdue.

“We have established new relationships,” he added, and with those new relationships he is able to share with other Sussex County pantries.

The new van enables this hunger relief partner to serve more people and offer fresher food.

Christian Storehouse picks up so much that they now have a program for families who need to pick up after hours. Non-perishable food is placed bags outside the office in the evening when closed, and clients that work late can come by and pick up after work. It is based on an honor system and there have been no issues whatsoever, Smith said, noting that the whole community is talking about it.

“Everything has fallen into place. It’s phenomenal. You can say that: phenomenal,” Smith said.

The Food Bank of Delaware is happy to work with network partners like the Christian Storehouse to help feed food-insecure Delawareans.

For more information on the Food Bank of Delaware and to see how you can help, visit www.fbd.org.

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