By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
I’m somewhat new to the Food Bank of Delaware. Having come on board in late August, I haven’t yet experienced a full year’s cycle. But I was warned. My co-workers told me that the Food Bank is really busy in the summer, and while it’s not officially summer by the calendar, our summer season has begun.
School’s out, so the Food Bank steps in to meet the nutritional needs of children in their own neighborhoods.
Over the past week and a half, I attended the launch of the Grab and Go Program in three neighborhoods located in Bridgeville, Frederica and Millsboro.
The program complements our existing nutrition services to reach an underserved population of children who are unable to access our Summer Nutrition Program (Summer Food Service Program – SFSP) through traditional distribution sites.
Providing adequate nutrition during the 10-week summer vacation is a challenge as these children scatter throughout the community with limited or no access to summer nutrition programs.
Children who reside in rural or isolated settings are sometimes unable to benefit from the meals provided at traditional SFSP meal distribution sites.
The meals, breakfast and lunch, will be delivered to the main office of low-income housing units, apartment buildings and mobile home parks in southern New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County, to be distributed for offsite consumption.
The current program has been made possible by a three-year, $300,000 grant provide by the Our Family Foundation.
That being said, the Food Bank staff launched the program by offering these same children a good time as well. While parents or a guardian checked in to confirm the child’s registration, the kids could play.
In fact, my job was. . . face painter! How much fun is that? Best of all, the children seemed to enjoy having their faces decorated with colorful flowers or footballs or an amateur rendering of a super hero. After waiting their turns, some kids even came back to my table for an additional painted tattoo on their arm.
In addition to face paint, we brought hula hoops, big balls to toss into plastic barrels, drew a hopscotch game on the sidewalk and encouraged the kids to join us.
When the registration was confirmed, parents received their child’s first day of meals in a reusable insulated tote bag so that refrigerated beverages made it home at the proper temperature.
I’ll be revisiting some of these sites throughout the summer to see how this program is going. Hopefully, it’s a huge success!
Check out some pictures from our recent launch in Millsboro!