By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
It didn’t matter that the thermometer registered at least 90 degrees and the heat index was 101.
Gaij Copes was ready to lend a hand at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Grab and Go program in his neighborhood.
Gaij, age 12, will enter the 7th grade at W.T. Chipman Middle School in Harrington this fall, but he’s no stranger to volunteering.
Missy Holochwost, Senior Nutrition Coordinator/Mobile Pantry Coordinator for the Food Bank of Delaware, is his mother.
The Summer Grab and Go Program complements the Food Bank’s existing nutrition services to reach an underserved population of children who are unable to access our Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at 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 unable to benefit from the meals provided at traditional SFSP meal distribution sites.
Such is the case at High Point Mobile Home Park, a community of 406 homes located adjacent to the state’s major north-south highway, but not within safe walking distance of a school or church.
So five days a week, Gaij rides his bike to meet the Food Bank van where he helps the driver unload coolers and checks off those who are enrolled in the program as they pick up breakfast, lunch and beverages.
Because of his mother’s work, Gaij is familiar with the Food Bank’s mission.
“I like helping people,” he said, adding that he also assisted in the sign-up process by delivering flyers with enrollment information door to door.
As a result, at High Point, there are 27 signed up and a waiting list of 10.
Bob, the site manager at High Point, praised the Grab and Go program.
“I like the program, and I’m glad people are talking advantage. It’s running smooth, and for me, it’s nothing extra,” he said.
The current program has been made possible by a 3-year, $300,000 grant provide by the Our Family Foundation.