On October 11, Milford Community Food Pantry (MCFP) held a ribbon cutting for their new facility. The new facility will be used as a distribution center for the food pantry. The ribbon cutting was attended by United States Senator Tom Carper, State Representative Stell Parker Selby as well as city and county officials.
“Before the distribution center, clients were waiting as much as an hour and a half to receive food,” Diane Hake, Director of Communications, said. “We had 17 refrigerators and freezers stored in seven locations, 20 coolers used to transport perishable food to our distribution site and 20 volunteer labor hours each day to set up and break down our temporary sites every day.”
With the new location, Hake stated that clients were now waiting just 15 minutes, an 80 percent decrease. Food is stored in one refrigerator and one freezer at one location. There are no longer coolers needed to move food since it is already set up at the center as well as a 50 percent reduction in setup and breakdown time.
“Milton is a great place to live and work,” Senator Carper said. “It’s also a community of neighbors. I was honored to spread the word about its newest initiative, the Milton Food Pantry, made possible thanks to generous donors and the American Rescue Plan.”
MCFP distributes fresh and non-perishable food items on the first and third Monday of each month. They turn no one away who comes to receive food and have been in business for almost 10 years. Opening in 2014, MCFP has distributed more than 752,000 meals to individuals in Kent and Sussex County. The first year they were open, they provided meals to an average of 81 individuals at each distribution and, today, are serving 316 per distribution.
“We have continued to implement a drive-through model of distribution that has proven efficient and safe for our clients and volunteers,” Hake said. “Despite food costs rising, we have been able to purchase and provide foods to those in need.”
MCFP partners with the “Teach a Person to Fish Society” which provides chef-prepared meals and fresh produce as long as it is available as well as Delaware “Unite Us” to accept referrals. In addition, MCFP works with other Delaware based foundations and organizations, including the Milford Lions Club and Panera Bread.
Feeding America states that almost 100,000 people in Delaware face hunger each year. This includes one in seven children, one in ten people and one in fifteen senior citizens. Over the past year, MCFP has seen a 50 percent increase in the number of families needing services. MCFP does not just serve Milton as they have had clients from Lewes, Houston, Seaford, Frederica, Bridgeville, Georgetown, Ellendale, Magnolia, Dover, Bridgeville, Milford, Laurel, Felton, Harbeson, Harrington, Greenwood, Lincoln, Millsboro, Camden and Delmar.
“We still need support,” Hake said. “With on-going support, we will continue to serve those that need us. I ask that you continue to publicize our work through social media and word of mouth. We are continuing a capital campaign to help cover building costs throughout 2023-2024.”
Learn more about MCFP by visiting www.miltonpantry.org where you can also donate.
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