COVID-restrictions on restaurants are one reason that the Food Bank of Delaware’s mobile pantries have been busy, and the organization has started seeing the numbers in its line go back up after a downturn in summer.
Out-of-work restaurant workers, or those making much less than normal, are one group of people who have been showing up in the lines, said Kim Turner, spokeswoman for the Food Bank.
While the Food Bank doesn’t expect to return to the peak numbers it saw in April, May and June when the economy was shut down, it has see numbers rise again since September and expects that to continue through cold weather.
One reason, Turner said, is that more people now must decide between food or power and heat.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the food bank has distributed 13.1 million pounds of food.
“Numbers went down over the summer months as unemployment relief began pouring in and more people were able to buy food,” she said.
However, since September, the numbers have been trending up.
“We don’t anticipate the numbers we had in April to happen again,” Turner said, “Not unless there’s another shutdown.”
Some of those early ones were overrun by clients and donations were quickly completed. Next week’s are prepared to serve 1,000 families each, but no one expects them to hit those numbers.
While the Food Bank gave away turkeys in November when it distributed more than 550,00 pounds to Delawareans, December’s boxes won’t have one. They will include proteins, dried goods and fresh vegetables.
Here’s where to find them:
Sussex County: Monday, Dec. 14, at the Crossroad Community Church 20684 State Forest Road, Georgetown, starting at 11 a.m. Register in advance here. The Georgetown site is actively looking for volunteers to help. Sign up here to help.
New Castle County: Friday, Dec. 18, Frawley Stadium at 801 Shipyard Drive, Wilmington, starting at 11 a.m. Registration can be found here.
All are first come, first served and limited to one food box per household.
To qualify, you must be a Delaware resident, bring a proof ID, and make under a certain amount of money per family size.
The Food Bank asks that people wear their masks when volunteers approach their car for check-in and that vehicles are cleared out enough for easy trunk or back seat loading.
Turner says credited President Trump’s trade war with China as one reason it’s been able to serve so many Delawareans.
“As a result of the trade war, farmers haven’t been able to sell as much food as usual,” Turner said, “That excess is disturbed free of charge to food banks all over the county, by the USDA.”