Partner Spotlight: St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church
May 16, 2022
The work of the Food Bank of Delaware is not possible without strong partnerships with community food pantries! One of those partners is St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church.
The church, located off North Broom Street in Wilmington, is a beacon of hope for so many in the community. Open several days throughout the week with both daytime and evening hours, the pantry sees a steady flow of families looking for a little extra help. With food and fuel prices at an all-time high, St. Stephen’s pantry traffic remains high.
Since the first of the year, the pantry has already had more than 2,500 household visits. St. Stephen’s partners with Lutheran Community Services to distribute food and is the largest of LCS’ 14 food distribution sites.
Kanchalee Reeves oversees the church pantry (in addition to serving as the church’s Communications Coordinator and Office Manager!) and is grateful for the support of volunteers and pantry donors. The pantry shelves remained stocked thanks to food donations from the community and a partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware.
Each week, the pantry can place an order with the Food Bank to receive a variety of items including nonperishable food, frozen meats, produce and more. Since 1997, St. Stephen’s has placed approximately 2,126 orders for a total of 3,709,206 pounds worth of food from the Food Bank of Delaware!
Kanchaleee says their work is not possible without the generosity of others. Acme and Sprouts have donated more than 16,000 pounds since the first of the year!
A team from the Food Bank had a chance to visit the pantry in April. Kanchalee and her team run a very well-oiled machine! The pantry is organized and efficient.
Like most community food pantries, St. Stephen’s has been operating differently since the start of the pandemic. Kanchalee remembers the pantry line stretching down the block in the early days.
A team of volunteers greets visitors outside, takes their information and goes inside to get bags full of food. Tech-savvy LCS volunteers have even created an electronic database that makes check-in easy for the volunteers. Based on household size, another team of volunteers is in charge of packing bags of food. Carts are used to bring the food back outside.
With several days of service to the community and a variety of tasks needed to make each visitor’s experience warm and inviting, it takes more than 200 volunteers throughout the year to operate the pantry.
Volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are retired, while others are students at local schools. Some have even needed the services of St. Stephen’s at one time.
With a strong commitment to the community, St. Stephen’s has even become a DoorDash delivery hub for residents who live within a 15-mile radius of the pantry. Individuals who are homebound or lack transportation, can go online, place an order through DoorDash and receive a free box of food within an hour or so. The program gives people a sense of dignity during times of despair. Kanchalee says the service continues to grow.
Providing food to our community takes the commitment of so many! The Food Bank of Delaware is grateful for St. Stephen’s! To learn more about the St. Stephen’s food pantry, click here. To learn more about Lutheran Community Services, click here.