Weekly produce box: ‘. . . vegetables I would never be able to afford’

September 15, 2022

Michelle fights back tears as she expresses her gratitude for the services she receives from the Food Bank of Delaware. This 46-year-old New Castle woman became disabled five years ago after an auto accident. Although she had a 25-year career as a hair stylist, Michelle said she was driving and fell asleep at the wheel due to the narcolepsy she’s experienced as a child. “It [narcolepsy] becomes worse as you get older. My car was totaled. That day I decided I would never drive again. They didn’t take my license; I gave it up,” she said.

Because of her health issues, she’s unable to work now.  In addition to her weekly Amazon food delivery, Michelle signed up for the Food Bank of Delaware’s Summer CSA program. She registered online to receive a free weekly box that contains fresh fruits and vegetables, mainly those grown on the Food Bank’s five-acre farm in Newark.

Before that crash, Michelle describes herself as “an extremely independent woman. I never thought I would ask for help, but this has been a blessing to me. I’m so grateful.”

Michelle says she is able to prepare meals at home for her family, and that includes her 11-year-old niece. “The produce box is amazing. It always contains vegetables I could never be able to afford, even super foods, and those super foods give me energy,” she said.

Though the boxes are packed with produced, Michelle says nothing is wasted. “I use everything. When there’s extra, I cook it and freeze it so I can stretch it into winter. I notice when things come into season – like squash – we may get extra,”

She’s also discovered how to get her niece to enjoy greens, like kale and Swiss chard, too. “I mix it into spaghetti sauce or chop it and put it into a salad. I’ve made kale chips, and they are amazing,” Michelle added.

“I just want to say again, I’m very grateful for this service. I never thought I’d be in a position to need this kind of help.”

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