Food Bank of Delaware Dover drive-thru

Food Bank to host only one mass distribution this month

Bradley VasoliCulture, Headlines

Food Bank of DelawareDover drive-thru

The Food Bank of Delaware will only hold one drive-thru this month, its first since December. File photo of Dover Speedway distribution.

The Delaware Food Bank will host just one mass drive-thru distribution of food this month, on Tuesday, June 18, in Dover.

It’s the Food Bank‘s first since December.

That’s a big change from the monthly events that were held in all three counties, starting at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic in spring 2020.

Kim Turner, the Food Bank’s spokeswoman, says the main reason for the change is constraints on manpower after the pandemic tapered off, and that the changes are “more resource-based than need-based.”

At the pandemic’s worst, federal legislation including the 2020 CARES Act and the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act supplied substantial aid for staffing at the distributions.

But those funds have since dried up while charitable donations have lessened due to inflation. 

“When your day-to-day expenses are higher, that oftentimes means less money that you could donate to charitable organizations like the Food Bank,” Turner told Delaware Live.

Tuesday’s event, at the Dover Motor Speedway at 1131 North Dupont Highway, will take placer from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Going forward, the nonprofit is contemplating doing such an event each holiday season, most likely in all three counties, Turner said. 

The National Guard, which Turner described as “an incredible partner during the first few months of the pandemic,” continues to aid the effort with food drives but no longer sends several dozen Guard personnel to assist with the distributions.

The Delaware Department of Transportation must also maintain a large presence to direct traffic at the events.

Food Bank distributions

Mass-distribution pickups have slowed somewhat since the onset of the pandemic in spring of 2020, when events in Dover International and Christiana mall each served roughly 2,300 families. 

But November and December distributions consistently see high traffic and that did not subside from 2022 to 2023. All three counties assisted 5,286 households last November, 873 more than were served that month the prior year. 

At the upcoming Dover event, each household may receive one food package. Proof of Delaware residency is required, such as a state-issued ID, utility bill or Delaware SNAP benefits card.

To expedite the process, participants are encouraged to pre-register here. They also may register on-site. 

The drive-thru distributions provide packages of nonperishable items and households are limited to one package each.

The Food Bank is urging food-insecure residents and families unable to attend the Dover distribution to go to the Newark Healthy Pantry Center or the Milford Healthy Pantry Center. 

The Newark site at 222 Lake Drive in Newark is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon on Friday and on the second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The Milford center is located at 102 Delaware Veterans Boulevard. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays for box pick-up only from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Other hunger-relief resources, the Food Bank emphasized in its announcement, are available throughout Delaware by going here.

The Food Bank itself stocks over 200 community pantries throughout the state and provides other help such as financial coaching and SNAP benefit sign-ups. 

“We do know that a lot of people are still in need of services because groceries are so expensive, housing is expensive, childcare is expensive,” Turner observed. “We want to let people know, yes, we’re going to come to Dover but… there’s assistance available most days of the week.” 

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Looking back at the mass-distribution events, Turner rates them a major success, noting that over 100 volunteers usually show up at a site. 

“If you aren’t experiencing food insecurity, it’s something that you might not think about regularly. But when somebody from the community comes out to volunteer and sees the lines of cars that are coming out, you oftentimes think…, ‘Oh wow, I didn’t know that food-insecurity impacted so many of my neighbors.” 

According to the national nonprofit Feeding America, 11.8 percent of Delawareans are deemed food-insecure, meaning they lack sufficient access to quality nutrition.

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