The Food Bank of Delaware cannot distribute food to one in four Delawareans without the support of partner organizations like the Cape Henlopen Food Basket.
Situated about a block off busy Del. 1 in the Rehoboth Beach resort community, the Cape Henlopen Food Basket serves between 220-240 hungry families each month, says board president Jon DeVoll.
Some come for emergency food, while others need supplemental food to help get them through the month.
With the SNAP cut that took place on November 1, it is expected that more families will be reaching out to already-strapped organizations like the Cape Henlopen Food Basket for supplemental help.
The Cape Henlopen Food Basket, founded in 2002, is a partner agency of the Food Bank of Delaware; its clients must be residents of the Cape Henlopen School District.
About 85 volunteers from the Lewes Rehoboh Association of Churches work regularly behind the scenes to stock shelves, maintain required records and lend a helping hand.
DeVoll says the agency has grown from a humble beginning over the past 11 years, starting in a small space on Savannah Road in Lewes and then moving near the New Life Thrift Store further north on Del. 1.
This agency moved to its current site in January, and now shares a building with the Community Resource Center.
“That’s been good. They work hand-in-glove with us,” DeVoll said.
As he spoke, volunteer Jim Judd packed boxes while Clare MacDonald prepared to handle registrations when the doors opened at 10 a.m.
The Cape Henlopen Food Basket serves clients from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Three volunteers staff each shift: one collects data at the door and the other two pack boxes.
“We never turn anybody away, but clients can only get emergency food three times in a three-month period. We send them to state social services,” he said.
“The clients we see represent the general population.”
Judd noted there was no more canned ravioli on the shelf, and Mr. DeVoll suggested he substitute chili.
“We encourage donors,” Mr. DeVoll, adding that several local food drives, including those connected to a craft fair and tennis tournament, were hugely successful.
“People do this on their own. It’s amazing to me,” he said, noting that the agency has recently received several very generous cash gifts as well.
“Ninety percent of our budget goes to food. We’re all volunteer; there are no salaries, but we do have administrative costs. Pest control is a big one, so is electricity. These freezers generate a lot of power.”