Summer time and living is easy? Maybe in song lyrics, but not for children who depend on free or reduced lunches during the school year. For those kids, summer can be very challenging.That’s where the Summer Food Service Program fills the gap. The Food Bank of Delaware 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. Volunteers are needed at the food bank’s Milford facility to help prepare and pack meals Monday through Friday, and opportunities are available in both the kitchen and volunteer room. The meals are then delivered to apartment complexes, child care centers, low-income neighborhoods and other sites by a team of drivers hired by the Food Bank of Delaware.
During the summer of 2014, the hunger-relief organization 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. This year’s program starts June 15 and runs through the middle of August. So while many people still think that holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, are the busiest time for the food bank, the organization is actually busier during the summer months providing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to low-income children.
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.
Volunteers can help as individuals or in a group or team, but each person much schedule in advance. There is no need to make a long-term commitment, but regular volunteering is welcome. To learn more about volunteering in Milford, individuals and groups are encouraged to contact the volunteer department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-393-2011. Volunteers may also sign up for a shift online by visiting www.fbd.volunteerhub.com. Sites wishing to receive meals from the Food Bank of Delaware may call Kirsten Gooden, Children’s Nutrition Coordinator, at 302-444-8128 or email@example.com. Families in need of free meals may dial 2-1-1 or text FOOD to 877-877.