Joann Gillespie has been volunteering in the Healthy Pantry Center at our Newark headquarters for just over a month and she says she “loves it.”
This dedicated volunteer can be found in the pantry once a week doing a variety of tasks including stocking shelves, assisting shoppers and more.
And she does it all with a smile on her face.
“What I like [about the pantry] is you get to see the people and you see their reaction,” she said. “Some of them are overwhelmed with appreciation. It’s just a really rewarding feeling.”
The Healthy Pantry Center in Newark opened in June. Since then, the Food Bank has served 581 households. In total, 88,117 pounds of nonperishable foods and 28,108 pounds of perishable foods have been distributed.
Joann notes that each individual she meets in the pantry has a different story.
“I’ve had people tell me they have had open heart surgery, kids in the hospital and they are caring for grand kids,” she says. “It doesn’t take much to get into a predicament where you need food, and it’s always had a special place for me. I don’t like to be hungry, so I can’t imagine having to make a choice of paying my rent.”
Food banking is not new to Joann. Prior to moving to Delaware two years ago, she volunteered at the New Hampshire Food Bank.
“This [Healthy Pantry Center] seems like a really neat concept,” she explains. “If people can pick what they need, it’s a lot less wasteful.”
Using a point system based on household size, the pantry center caters specifically to each shopper. Shelves are arranged to encourage healthy eating. While still giving shoppers the freedom to choose their products, the Pantry Center motivates a selection of more nutrient-dense options by displaying easy-to-read nutrition facts and making the healthier options the least amount of points.
In addition to nutrition and community resources, cooking demonstrations also take place in the pantry to show visitors how to prepare healthy meals using foods found on the shelves. Meal kits are also available to provide easy, healthy meals with all of the needed ingredients.
Are you in need of emergency food assistance?
The Newark Healthy Pantry Center is located at 222 Lake Drive. The entrance for the pantry is at the back of the building near the loading ramp.
- Monday-Friday: 7:30am to 3:30 p.m. (last shopper at 3:00 p.m.)
- Third Thursday: 7:30am to 7:00pm (last shopper at 6:30 p.m.)
- Second Saturday: 9:00am to noon (last shopper at 11:30 a.m.)
Interested in volunteering in the Healthy Pantry Center? Please email Wes Chandler, Volunteer Program Manager, at email@example.com.