Volunteers commited to bringing weekend food to inner-city children

May 8, 2020

Despite social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Bank of Delaware and the people we serve are grateful that our volunteers are still willing to step up and lend a helping hand.

Margi Prueitt and members of the Rotary Club of Wilmington bridge the generation gap with their focus on early childhood development at four Wilmington sites: St. Michael’s School, Christiana Cultural Arts Center, Reach Riverside, and the Latin American Community Center.

Prueitt, like many Rotarians, is an active retiree who relishes the hands-on experience of delivering backpacks – or weekend meal bags – packaged by the Food Bank for each of the sites. This means she and other Rotarians literally go to the Food Bank warehouse, pick up the backpacks, load them into personal vehicles, and unload at least 50 backpacks at each location. “The people at the warehouse are just amazing,” she said.

Each backpack, or plastic bag, is packed by other volunteers at the Food Bank. The bag contains nutritionally sound, shelf-stable weekend meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages, and snack – for one child. At peak distribution, 6,280 children received bags through the Backpack Program. In the 2018-2019 school year –187,183 meal bags were distributed through 197 statewide sites.

Since schools have been closed since mid-March due to the corona virus crisis, some children have no access to food. Last week alone, the Food Bank distributed 5,97 backpack meals to Delaware children.

Prueitt, former American Red Cross CEO and Growing Talent executive, is all too familiar with issues surrounding food insecurity. “I served on the [Coalition to End Hunger], so I’m familiar with the Backpack Program. It’s just an extraordinary program,” she said.

Now volunteering with her service organization, she has seen the faces of children who need this service. “At the Latin American Community Center, the child care center has remained open. Their parents are essential workers, and they don’t have the option of not working,” Prueitt said.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Food Bank of Delaware, and volunteers are always needed at both the Milford and Newark sites to help pack these backpacks. Sponsorships are also available: It costs $197 to provide a child with weekend food for one school year.

Visit www.fbd.org to learn how you can help meet the needs of hungry Delawareans.

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