By Meghan Keating, Communications Intern
Last Friday, Kim Turner and I paid a visit to one of our partners, Richardson Park Community Assistance Program (CAP), in Wilmington. CAP assists local community members by providing groceries as well as clothing for an affordable price each week. The center is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to serve the community. About sixty to seventy-five people are served through CAP’s assistance every week.
Kim and I had the opportunity to catch some of the volunteers in action and chat with a client as well. Carol, a client of CAP, has been receiving assistance for the past two years and says that the program has helped her household greatly. Although it is only she and her boyfriend, Carol believes that without CAP’s help, she doesn’t know what she would do. Although there are many similar programs in the area, CAP is most convenient due to its close location to her home. She believes that the people at CAP are the best at what they do and have helped her in so many ways over the past two years. Their help has inspired her as well; “If I could donate, I would,” she says.
Winnie Simmons who is in charge of client and volunteer relations at CAP, says that up to 192 families are serviced every month. Winter, she says, is the busiest time for clients. The food the organization receives from the Food Bank is helpful and necessary year round. “We would not be here without the Food Bank,” she states. Since the program began on the front porch of a house in Richardson Park forty years ago, the number of clients served is the largest ever, according to Winnie. In this current economy, the face of the typical client is not the assumed homeless person, but rather individuals with families to support who have lost their source of income. She says clients should never be ashamed of having to use CAP as a resource, because that is why the volunteers are there – to help.
Kim and I also got a chance to sit down with two volunteers, Louise and Bruce. Louise, who has now been a volunteer at CAP for three years, first got involved with the program many years ago when she was a client herself. She is happy that she is now able to help others as she was helped, and always likes to know that she’s making a difference in the lives of others. “I get hugs a lot,” she says. Bruce, another volunteer, was first prompted to get involved six months ago bu his mother, who told him that CAP was in need of more volunteers. His favorite part of the experience so far, he says, is the relationships he has built with fellow volunteers. “We enjoy our work,” he comments.
Having the opportunity to visit Richardson Park Community Assistance Program was a wonderful experience that I’m glad I was able to be apart. All of the staff and volunteers there are so passionate about their work, and it is obvious how much it is appreciated by the clients. Thank you for all of you great work, CAP!