Volunteers pack food bags for Delaware needy

DOVER — Volunteers packed 5,200 meal bags in Dover on Wednesday afternoon.

The assembly line was set up on the north side of Legislative Mall. One person after another registered and took a plastic bag.

They carefully stacked it with food as they walked through the line: grape juice boxes, shelf-stable milk, cornflakes, macaroni and cheese, Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs, applesauce and peaches.

The bags were sealed, set into boxes and loaded into the waiting Food Bank of Delaware trucks.

“We do this on a regular basis,” said Patricia Beebe, Food Bank president. “We can’t do it without volunteers, but we thought it was so important to do this here to give everyone an understanding of what we do as an organization.”

Ms. Beebe said that at least once a year organizers try to show elected officials what the Food Bank does as an organization. This is the first year they set up the event at Legislative Mall.

The 5,200 bags are enough to feed children through the organization’s Backpack Program for just one week, she said.

“What is more impactful than saying, ‘It takes 5,200 backpacks to feed children a week and we do that all the weeks school is in session?’” she said. “So we really felt it was an important message to make.

The program provides food to children in need over weekends and holidays when school is not in session and federal school meal programs are not available.

The bags are discreetly distributed in school on Fridays or the last day before a holiday or vacation.

State government employees all received an invitation from the Office of Management and Budget to help pack meals, Ms. Beebe said, along with various volunteer groups.

Among the volunteers handing out milk boxes was Gov. Jack Markell. He highlighted the importance of supporting the Food Bank in his remarks at the start of the event.

“… [A]t a time when still there’s a lot of people in this country, many people in Delaware, who don’t have the type of food security that we all wanted to have and we all do have, it’s really important that we support organizations like the Food Bank and the Food Bank specifically,” he said.

State Sen. Bryan Townsend and State Rep. Ed Osienski, both D-Newark, who represent the district where the Food Bank of Delaware’s Newark branch is, also helped set up the event.

“This is just a great opportunity to do what we should be doing, which is help feed our neighbors and help feed our children,” Ms. Beebe said.

 

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