Harrington women volunteer for kids’ summer meal program

Asbury volunteerscompBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Each Wednesday morning, Barbara Liimatta, Andrea Dula and Marlene Jarrell, friends and active members of Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrington arrive at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford branch to lend a hand.

Their task is to pack meals for the Summer Food Service Program, a program that meets the nutritional needs of children who are eligible for free and/or reduced lunches during the school year.

So the ladies join a short assembly line to pack child-friendly meals and snack items into bags that will be distributed at designated sites throughout Kent and Sussex counties.

While putting oranges, cereal and more into plastic bags, the ladies say they volunteered because they were asked, and they believe their time is well spent.

The Food Bank serves free meals to children during the summer through this program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Delaware Department of Education. This year’s program started June 15 and will run through August.

Volunteers are pivotal to the success of this program. Volunteers can help as individuals or in a group or team, but each person must schedule in advance so that we can be prepared. There is no need to make a long-term commitment, but regular volunteering is welcome, of course.

Last summer, the Food Bank delivered more than 190,000 meals to children. The meals are planned to feature healthy, kid-friendly foods, including cereal and milk, bagels, soy butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, grilled chicken on a whole-wheat roll, yogurt, oranges, nectarines, celery sticks and more.

Chad Robinson, Milford branch manager, encourages people to volunteer to help support this program.

“While the Food Bank of Delaware always needs volunteers, they are more essential to us in the summer simply because the needs of children are so much greater. The summer leaves those children who receive free or reduced lunches in a vacuum. Volunteers are our backbone in providing meals to kids in Kent and Sussex counties,” he said.

Questions about volunteering? Please contact the volunteer department at volunteer@fbd.org or (302) 444-8075 (New Castle County) or volunteerinmilford@fbd.org or (302) 393-2011 (Kent/Sussex counties).

Sites wishing to receive meals from the Food Bank of Delaware may call Kirsten Gooden, Children’s Nutrition Coordinator, at (302) 444-8128 or kgooden@fbd.org.

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