Volunteer hosts food drives, lends helping hand to hungry Delawareans

July 13, 2020

Melody McNulty knows the rewards of volunteering. The Food Bank of Delaware and the people we serve appreciate that she has chosen to donate her time, energy, and talents to support our mission to eliminate food insecurity in rather non-typical ways.

McNulty started volunteering, like quite a few other volunteers, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when she had time coupled with a willingness to help others. “I was already a Red Cross volunteer, and I noticed a long line of people at a pre-school, and wondered why. They were waiting for food, so I decided to do a food drive in my driveway.”

Obviously not one to boast, but rather someone who knows how to get things done, this Newark-area resident, relied on social media platforms to get the word out. As a result, McNulty collected over 3,000 pounds of food that day.

Unfortunately, according to a new study by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, food insecurity here is expected to increase due to COVID-19.

The study shows that pre-pandemic, in Delaware 121,850 people, including 38,680 children, did not have adequate access to healthy, nutritious food. The new study, released last month, demonstrates that in our state – factoring in projected unemployment – that number is likely to increase by 50,080, including 18,590 children.

While delivering the food to the Food Bank’s Newark warehouse, McNulty met our Food Sourcing Manager Ed Matarese; she had already decided to do another food drive – with the support of state Sen. Dave Sokola — at Paper Mill Park. In addition, she coached state Auditor Kathleen McGuiness of the finer points of setting up and completing yet another food drive to benefit the Food Bank.

“I have yet to go to the Food Bank and volunteer,” jokes McNulty. That’s OK. A professional event manager whose job responsibilities have been on hold, she’s used her time to actively assisted in five mass food distributions, some of which were nearly 100 miles from her home.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, from March 16 through July 3, the Food Bank of Delaware distributed 6,107,301 pounds of food and served 17,614 households at 12 mass drive-through distributions statewide, thanks to volunteers and our staff.

“Melody McNulty has been an outstanding volunteer at the Food Bank of Delaware and our events. Her positive attitude and energy are contagious. She has successfully organized multiple food drives, assisted at our mass distributions and cared for many during this COVID-19 crisis. I appreciate her commitment to our organization and how she has cared for me personally, checking in and offering positive words. She is a breath of fresh air in a world filled with so much darkness,” said Community Relations Director Chad Robinson.

Last year, the Food Bank had 15.947 visits, or 41,359 donated hours. That’s the equivalent of 20 full-time staff.

Visit www.fbd.org to sign up as volunteer and to learn more about how you can help the Food Bank of Delaware.

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