Volunteer Project: The Food Bank of Delaware

During the Summer of 2016, I was the Food Bank of Delaware’s Communications Intern. During my internship, I learned first-hand a great deal about what goes into providing meals for those in need — whether that be students, parents, or families.

My internship this summer involved me going out to different meal-sites to promote the Food Bank’s Summer Meals Program. Here’s a picture from June 2016 of me face-painting at one of the kickoff events.

Typically, volunteers arrive at the Food Bank before 6:30am, eager to put together hundreds of lunches for our local hungry children.

Here’s an example of what goes into a cooler. Though this is a photo that I took last summer, the coolers that we packed during my volunteer shift were essentially the same: sandwiches, juice boxes, graham crackers, string cheese, etc.

Since I interned over the summer, The Food Bank at the time was contributing to the Summer Meals Program, where representatives from the Food Bank set up shop in the parks located in local neighborhoods. Every day around 12 o’clock sharp, representatives waited eagerly for hungry neighborhood children to eat the lunches the that volunteers put together the morning of.

During my volunteer shift earlier this month, however, we were making meals for after school programs in the area. Specifically, the meals that we packed included bagels with tomato sauce, ground meat and mozzarella, in addition to turkey-&-cheese sandwiches with string cheese, yogurt, goldfish-brand graham crackers and juice boxes. To get a proper gauge on how many meals The Food Bank of Delaware provides for these programs, it is helpful to refer to their 2015–2016 school year statistics, which states that in that school year alone, volunteers at the Food Bank packed over 240,000 meals! That, in turn, is a result of countless hours of selflessness and dedication. My three hours alone resulted in over 300 meals for students, but I can only imagine how returning volunteers must feel!

According to Feeding America, an organization that the Food Bank of Delaware works directly with, Food Insecurity is a serious problem in America. In 2015 alone, 14.5 million children under the age of 18 were reported to be in poverty. Although “poverty” takes multiple factors into account, food insecurity alone is a large portion of it. In regards to food insecurity alone, in 2015, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 17 percent compared to 11 percent. Through their volunteer efforts, The Food Bank of Delaware aims to combat those numbers and provide food for a large majority of poverty-stricken families and children in the area. Although I only volunteered three hours, my three hours went a long way, providing lunches for a number of hungry children that day alone.

Before I stepped foot into the Food Bank the fateful morning of May 3rd, I was rubbing the eye crusties away from my face in an angry attempt to get myself together before the 6:30 am shift that I signed up for. Once I put the fated gloves and hairnet on and got down to business, I soon realized that my actions were helping a variety of children whose concerns were not about waking up early, but about where they were getting their next meal.

Next time you feel that your life is hard and bleak, volunteer at your local Food Bank. Not only will you gain a new appreciation for what you have, but you’ll also help hungry children that are in need. 3 hours isn’t that long of a time, right? Use that time to help your community.

I did, and I’m grateful of the result.

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