Ashley – not her real name—knows that she can rely on the Food Bank of Delaware, and not only for food. The Food Bank staff create a positive and safe environment for people they serve, she says. She should know: this Wilmington resident has needed food assistance off and on for about three years.
Ashley requested that we not use her real name for this article; although she doesn’t use the word “shame,” she talks about being embarrassed to ask for help. Shame, or a feeling of worthlessness, is recognized by the social work/mental health community as part of the stigma of poverty.
Now unemployed, this young woman will only describe herself as a 20-something living in an urban high-rise. Ashley receives a weekly food box through the Food Bank’s Healthy Pantry Center and delivered to her door by Amazon. “I’m actually struggling,” she said, explaining that in addition to trying to pay her bills, she has no transportation. She feels unsafe walking to a grocery store, and without a car she’s unable to pick up food from our Healthy Pantry Center.
The Food Bank’s Executive Coordinator Iskeisha Stuckey got the delivery program rolling after receiving an email with Amazon’s offer to deliver food to people unable to pick it up themselves. Stuckey reached out to state case workers who in turn provided the client connections. “We know there are people out there who need help. It’s been growing really fast; we’re already up to 72,” she said. She expects the program to expand since Amazon just purchased a refrigerated van which will allow meat delivery.
Stuckey emails clients every week to confirm if a delivery is needed or expected. “Most people have been very positive about it,” she added.
And Ashley is extremely positive about her experiences and interactions with the Food Bank.
“The Food Bank has been great,” Ashley said. She first learned about the Food Bank through a flyer in the mail and reached out for services. “The people at the Food Bank go the extra mile for people in need. Their kindness is wonderful, and I’m so grateful. I never felt judged,” Ashley said.
“The process is easy and really convenient, and everyone is nice,” she added. “The first time, I was in a bad predicament. I got a box. It was wonderful how they looked after me. When I was trying to get food stamps, they helped me to get other benefits. I just want people to know they don’t have to be hungry, and you don’t have to be uncomfortable to go to the Food Bank.”
Meanwhile, Ashley has hit another rough patch, but views her situation as temporary. “I try to stay positive, but it’s very hard. You have to have a mind frame of where you’re going, and no matter what the obstacle, you’re going to get there.”
For more information about the Food Bank’s Healthy Pantry Center in Newark and Milford, click here.