By Ashley Michini, Executive Assistant
Each year as the weather gets cold and the holidays draw near, residents in one Newark neighborhood receive a cheery yellow flyer that reads “Please help me help other people…” A young girl named Natalie is hosting her annual food drive. Her flyer details a list of the most-needed food items at the Food Bank of Delaware and asks community members to leave food items on their porches for pickup. At twelve years old, Natalie has already been donating to the Food Bank for over half a decade!
When she was six, Natalie decided to start the food drive after the News Journal explained that Food Bank may not have the resources to provide holiday food to those in need. She and her mom pulled a little red wagon door to door, asking neighbors for contributions. The success of the first year inspired her to make it a yearly event.
Now, Natalie’s friends help out with the drive, too. Together with their families, they roll a fleet of wagons through the town. For Natalie, this is the best part of hosting the drive. She described, “Going around the neighborhood with my friends, I see the food on people’s porches ready to be picked up. It means they remembered, and they want to help, too.” They have raised over 4,000 pounds—more than 2 tons—of food for the Food Bank, not including this year’s donation!
“There are families in need,” Natalie explained, “The holidays should be a time of happiness for people, but it’s hard to be happy if you’re hungry.” She hopes that the families receiving the donations will enjoy the food and know that people care about them. For anyone interested in starting their own food drive, Natalie urges them to “Just go for it.” She elaborated, “Whether you only get a little bit of food or a lot, it makes a difference to the families who need it. It only takes a few hours of your time, but makes a big difference to others.” Each donation matters, no matter the size.
In her spare time, Natalie likes dancing at Delaware Dance Company. For Thanksgiving, she looks forward to spending time with her family while enjoying her favorite holiday food—mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Thanks to Natalie’s efforts, many more families can do the same.
If you have questions about organizing your own food drive or would like additional resources, contact Caitlin Custer, Donor Outreach Coordinator, at email@example.com, or by phone at (302) 292-1305 ext. 253.
And don’t forget! Food drives are needed all year long to help meet the emergency food needs of Delawareans!