By: Lindsey Hargett, Communications Intern
The Greater Wilmington Adventist Community Services, or GWACS, is a faith-based organization focused on reducing pain and suffering in a number of ways to people in need in the greater Wilmington area. GWACS is committed to helping people regain their independence in their time of need. They have been a partner with the Food Bank of Delaware since January 2006.
GWACS’ food pantry is open every Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Northeast section of Wilmington.
Richard Geer oversees the food pantry and has served in a lead role for five and half years. He understands the positive impact of GWACS’ services on this very-low-income community.
“The benefit for the community is great; the whole area is positively impacted,” he says. “We help over 90 families a week.”
When GWACS first started their program, volunteers packed bags full of food and essentials for each pantry visitor. Wanting to empower families to make food choices that are best suitable for their needs, Geer and his team of volunteers switched to a client-choice pantry model, allowing visitors to choose the items they need.
“This [setup] worked out extremely well,” said Geer. “People are able to pick out what they need most,” he said.
Ralph, a longtime volunteer for GWACS, commented on how well organized the food pantry is.
“I’ve been here since [GWACS] opened and it has always moved well, but it works even better now that people can choose what they want,” he said. “Especially the chicken, people love the chicken and it goes fast.”
Last year, the organization received 123,459 pounds of food through the Food Bank.
In addition to this food, GWACS also depends on the generosity of community food drives and donations. BJs Wholesale Club donates baked goods each week.
“That is definitely a popular day,” chuckled Geer.
In addition to the food distribution, GWACS also utilizes the Food Bank of Delaware’s community nutritionist and community nutrition educators for occasional healthy cooking demonstrations and local healthcare providers for blood pressure checks.
Thanks to partnerships with local organizations such as GWACS, the Food Bank of Delaware is able to meet the emergency food needs of Delawareans. For more information about becoming a partner organization, please visit http://www.fbd.org/partners/prospective-partners/.