Partner Spotlight: New Castle Library

The lunchtime volunteers at the New Castle Library

The lunchtime volunteers at the New Castle Library

By Kim Turner, Communications Director

We are always seeking new community partnerships in order to deliver more services to Delawareans in need. We were thrilled when earlier this spring several libraries throughout the state signed on to participate as Summer Food Service Program sites!

Yesterday I visited the New Castle Library, our only Summer Food Service Program library site in New Castle County.

Jackie Harad, the Youth Services Specialist at the New Castle Library, and a team of three volunteers, work to ensure that the summer meal program runs smoothly at the library. Meals are delivered by the Food Bank every Tuesday, and lunch takes place immediately following mid-day programming.

From 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., children filter in for lunch. On the menu during my visit: turkey and cheese on whole-wheat bread, potato salad, celery sticks with ranch dressing and chocolate milk! Kids enjoy the turkey and cheese, says Jackie.

She is happy that the library is participating in this year’s meal program and hopes that more libraries sign on next summer. The New Castle Library is already planning to participate again next summer.

New Castle Library kidsShe says it was really a no-brainer to participate considering how many students in her community utilize free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch programs during the school year.

“It’s very easy to do. It’s not complicated especially if you have volunteers,” she points out. “The only paperwork is ticking off how many lunches were eaten, but it’s not difficult.”

As the children ate their lunches during my visit, Jackie and the team of volunteers went around talking with the kids. So far the kids have had a great summer – trips to summer camp, one family went on a road trip to Texas and others have been catching up on their summer reading at the library! When asked if they were excited to go back to school, two young girls said yes, while the boys said no!

Jackie is thankful for the library’s partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware. In addition to free summer meals, she is also utilizing our SNAP-education program to provide nutrition education to the library’s young visitors.

Lindsey, our Summer Community Nutrition Educator, hosted a Fruit and Vegetable Bingo session at the library immediately following lunchtime. This program uses Bingo cards to teach children about the many different fruits and vegetables that are available. In addition to playing, the kids also get to sample fruits and vegetables!

Thanks to the dedicated team at the New Castle Library for helping us ensure that kids have access to free, nutritious meals this summer!

To learn more about the summer meal program at the Food Bank, please click here! To find free summer meals near you, text FOOD to 877-877, dial 2-1-1 for Delaware 2-1-1 or visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks for an interactive map!

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