As a result of the economic downturn of 2008 and the number of Delawareans in need of services, the Food Bank of Delaware joined forces with United Way in 2008 to launch Delaware Does More, a campaign to bring in additional resources for our neighbors in need. The outpouring from the community was simply amazing. There were so many stories of neighbors helping neighbors. Natalie Ginsberg and her red wagon were one of those stories.
In 2008, Natalie was just seven years old and saw an ad for Delaware Does More. She wanted to do something to help her neighbors in need. She decided to hold a neighborhood food drive. She passed out a flyer to her neighbors listing the Food Bank’s most needed items and set a date that she would be back to collect. On the given date, she and a group of friends walked throughout the neighborhood picking up donations. Once everything was collected, they dropped them off to the Food Bank. As a result of the kids’ efforts, The News Journal featured the kids in a full-page ad telling the stories of those who helped make Delaware Does More a success.
Ten years later, Natalie’s food drive still continues. Her mom delivered more than 400 pounds of food earlier this week on behalf of Natalie and friends.
We recently caught up with Natalie to find out more about her annual food drive!
FBD: Why did you originally decide to host the food drive?
NG: As a cold winter approached, I spotted an article in The News Journal from the Food Bank of Delaware. It was in regards to the Delaware Does More initiative, and it urged readers to consider donating even a few cans of food due to growing needs and the reliance on the community to feed the hungry. If things continued as they were, a shortage would have emerged. At the time I saw the paper, I was a first grader, so I expressed my concerns generated by the article to my mom, who supported me in starting my own neighborhood food drive.
FBD: Why has it been important to continue to host the food drive each year?
NG: If I can play even a small part in lessening the burden of food insecurity and provide comfort and a sense of ease to the people whose lives I wouldn’t otherwise reach, then my efforts are more than worthwhile.
FBD: What has the food drive taught you about the importance of giving back?
NG: Through the food drive and through the warm responses of the Food Bank of Delaware team, I’ve learned that no matter how trivial a donation may feel, it will be immeasurably appreciated by someone. This serves as motivation to give back, and establishes the significance of each and every donation.
FBD: Why is helping hungry Delawareans important to you?
NG: The food drive is more than just donating cans, it’s about offering compassion. From a young age, I was taught the importance of gemilut hasadim — the giving of loving-kindness — at my temple. It was emphasized that, although fulfilling, performing altruistic acts is less about how it makes you, the giver, feel, but is more about a moral inclination to help those in need.
FBD: What would you say to other kids to convince them to give back?
NG: To convince others to give back, I would say that everyone should realize what an impact their efforts could have on their community. Although the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is a proverb, it shouldn’t hold true to people’s societal views; don’t limit yourself to your immediate surroundings. Everyone in the community should realize that even if they only give a little, do it with immense generosity, and their efforts will make a difference.