Reaching out to Dover’s homeless population
June 28, 2016
By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
On most days, the Food Bank of Delaware’s SNAP Outreach Coordinators might be at the library. Community libraries are a public place where these staff can meet with potential client, explain how to access SNAP benefits, and guide them through the application process.
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is an acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Recently, Crystal, one of our SNAP Outreach Coordinators, had set up in the Dover Public Library as part of her effort to meet with potential clients. From her space on the ground floor, she noticed a couple of men approaching the front amphitheater area with rolling coolers.
The men are part of a mission team from Victory Church in Dover.
Pastor Aaron Appling and his team provide food, clothing, and care packages for homeless people in Dover seven days a week.
“We started coming to the street to witness. We saw the need, and we responded,” said Pastor Appling on Friday afternoon.
The church funds the project and purchases bottled water and hot dogs, then a team of 10-15 members working in small groups share the task of distributing the food up and down Loockerman Street.
“We start with 75-100 hot dogs, and normally we’re out. When we are empty, we go home,” the pastor said.
“We could probably do more if we had more resources.”
As the carts rolled in on Friday, about 30 people came out to grab a meal.
Jay, who did not share his last name, said the hot dog and water would probably be his only food for the day.
“I’m not homeless. I don’t have a house. I don’t like that word,” he said.
Jay said he’s been in Dover for two months, and he’s unemployed and has been “staying on the street.”
“I got off the Greyhound (bus) and stayed here.”
He said he was not sure he was eligible to apply for SNAP, but he may come back to the library to meet with Crystal.
Elder Eric Abernathy, a member of Victory Church, accompanied the team on its rounds. He believes most people are not aware of the extent of the homeless situation in the state capital.
“People here know us, and they are expecting us,” he said. “And we get to know them.”
For more information on how to apply for SNAP benefits, please contact the Food Bank of Delaware’s SNAP helpline at (302) 444-8073. For more information on other programs offered by the Food Bank of Delaware, visit www.fbd.org.