Volunteers find blessings in helping others as need in Delaware rises

July 6, 2020

The Food Bank of Delaware relies on volunteers to help sort and package food that go to food-insecure Delawareans. Now, more than ever, dedicated volunteers like Dawn and Al Mapp of Middletown, are necessary as they provide hands-on assistance.

“We always wanted to do service, so I looked around and thought the Food Bank was a good place to start,” said Mr. Mapp, who was the first member of the Mapp family to sign up for a shift about a year ago at the Food Bank’s Newark site.

Mrs. Mapp, a school nurse in Philadelphia, said since she and her husband were furloughed from work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been going in during the day to help pack and sort

“We look forward to it. I believe it’s always more blessed to give than receive, and I just enjoy doing things for others. We know that somebody will get something – the food – they need,” she said.

Last year, the Food Bank had 15,947 visits, or 41,359 donated hours. That’s the equivalent of 20 full-time staff. 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 earlier this week, demonstrates that in our state – factoring in projected unemployment – that number is likely to increase by 50,080, including 18,590 children.

Now, more than ever, volunteers like the Mapps are so important, and most volunteers, like Dawn and Al, say they really enjoy the experience as well. “I like the environment,” Mrs. Mapp said. “Most of the time our time is up and we’re finished before we finish the pallet. We really haven’t socialized except for the Food Bank,” she added “It’s nice.”

The couple praised Volunteer Program Manager Wes Chandler and Volunteer Coordinator Joe Certesio for their support, encouragement, and creation of a great experience.

“Wes and Joe are really nice… they tell us certain things couldn’t get done at the Food Bank without volunteers,” she added.

The couple even encouraged their 19-year-old twins to volunteer, but now the teens don’t have as much time because they are essential workers, their father explained.

“We’re not doing it just because of the pandemic,” Mrs. Mapp said. “We don’t do it for the recognition. We’re people who do stuff behind the scenes. If we can help, that’s a blessing.”

Visit www.fbd.org to see how you can help meet the needs of food-insecure Delawareans.

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