The Food Bank of Delaware estimates that 1,200 cars drove through their massive drive-thru food givaway today, giving needy residents the opportunity to fill their trunks with about two weeks worth of free food.
The New Castle County event, which just wrapped up shortly before 6 pm at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, was the first of three giveaways that the Food Bank will host this week to help address increased demands for food assistance amidst the coronavirus public health crisis.
No one was turned away by the Food Bank, which agreed to stay until the last driver had the food it came for. However, shortly after the distribution commenced at 11 am, traffic started overflowing on I-95, causing Wilmington Police to ask some cars to leave the line.
That prompted confusion over social media, with some reporting as early as 11:15 am that the Food Bank had run out of food.
“We were able to get the traffic under control with the Wilmington Police. But some people were mistakenly turned away by police, unfortunately,” said Food Bank Communications Director Kim Turner. Turner says she hopes those drivers later returned as traffic died down.
Turner says Food Bank employees made a site visit to the Chase Center lot yesterday and that the original plan was to direct a double line of cars. But organizers were told today that they were not able to set up in a particular area of the parking lot and therefore would only be able to accommodate a single line of cars. That snafu caused the long backup of vehicles.
The Food Bank estimates it distributed more than 100,000 pounds of food to people in need. Each driver left with a trunkload of food, including peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, fresh apples, and protein products such as pork.
“The goal for this week is to give families as much as we can to sustain them in case we as a state have to go under a 14-day quarantine. The Food Bank, of course, will still be open – we are essential services,” said Turner.
The next two Food Bank giveaway events this week are as follows:
Thursday, March 19 starting at 11:00 a.m.
Crossroads Community Church, 20684 State Forest Road, Georgetown, Del.
Friday, March 20 starting at 11:00 a.m.
Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del.