Volunteer Project

Food banks take on the responsibility of providing food for all people in need, but one of the most important aspects of food banks is the program aimed at helping malnourished youth. The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) estimates that upward of 3 million children die each year due to malnutrition. While death is the most extreme outcome, the effects on the child are always long lasting and devastating. It’s said that malnutrition lowers school performance and impacts overall success in later adult life. Many food banks have programs specifically designed to provide food for children. The Food Bank of Delaware offers a great, local example.

The Food Bank of Delaware, like other similar organizations, are concerned witht he wellbeing of all ages; however, they have 3 programs specifically designed to ease the burden when it comes to childhood hunger: the backpack program, the after-school nutrition program, and the summer nutrition program. In their own words, they claim, “We are addressing hunger on all fronts — hunger after school, during the summer and on the weekends.” The ‘backpack’ program is a particularly significant one because it works to provide healthful food for young children during school holidays when food may not otherwise be available. This food bank estimates that it costs around $168 annually to provide weekend/holiday foods for these children, and encourages those who cannot find time to volunteer to consider sponsoring a child instead.

I spent one early morning shift volunteering at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Newark location. The permanent volunteer staff was nothing but smiles and, though I am not a morning person, I quickly found that it was not a burden to be there. The agenda was preparing healthy lunches for kids in after-school programs around the area. After finishing a couple hundred of what looked like a healthier version of Lunchables, we moved on to making sandwiches and packing coolers for other children in need. The overall environment was fantastic and time just flew by. Unfortunately, I am not from the area and will not be able to return to The Food Bank of Delaware to volunteer. However, those of you that are local should check it out and consider lending a helping hand!

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