One in four Delawareans utilizes hunger relief services, According to Patricia Bebe, president of the Food Band of Delaware. With such a demand for assistance the Food Bank of Delaware has gone mobile in order to reach underserved communities.
The Food Bank of Delaware, Kraft Foods, Food Lion and Westside Family Healthcare came together Wednesday to launch a mobile food pantry, which will serve the entire state of Delaware.
“This truck will deliver 650,000 pounds of food by the end of the year,” Bebe said. “That equates to 780,000 meals.”
The Food Bank of Delaware was one of many food banks across the nation that applied through Kraft Foods and Feeding America, The food bank’s parent company, to win a mobile pantry. In the end, the Delaware food van was one of the lucky winners. Kraft Foods donated $145,000 to the food bank. The funds were used to purchase the truck and Food Lion will keep the truck stocked with food. The Food Bank is responsible for the food distribution and education.
The man behind the wheel of the truck delivering all of those meals will be Frank Coverdale, a Food Bank employee who was previously responsible for delivering food to the Boys & Girls Club for after-school programs.
“I’m so excited,” he said. “I want to keep this truck on the road. I want to see how many people we can feed and reach down and touch. I’m looking forward to being able to partner with others to feed the community.”
Coverdale and the nutrition educators are food bank employees, but the food bank will depend on volunteers for the actual distribution of the food.
Before the mobile pantry travels to a community, between 30 and 35 households will be identified to receive food and education. The education portion of the program will help those in need learn how to apply for resources such as SNAP, as well as provide them with nutritional information about things such as the basic food groups.
In the future, the food bank also hopes to partner with financial institutions to offer financial literacy education.
According to Kim Turner, communications director for the Food Bank of Delaware, the program currently has seven pantry stops scheduled. Once the program gets rolling, organizers hope to have one pantry stop each day.
According to Turner, up to 70 pounds of food will be provided during a distribution. Distributions will include nonperishables such as peanut butter, tuna, oats, ramen, Hamburger Helper, cereal and canned fruit and vegetables, as well as baked goods and produce.