The following is an excerpt from an article posted in the alliancetoendhunger.org in June 2017: IRUSA Partners with the Delaware Food Bank – One Backpack at a Time
” Christina Tobias-Nahi, Director of Public Affairs, Islamic Relief USA
This article was originally published on Islamic Relief USA’s “Relief Lab” blog. You can view it HERE.
Just a couple hours north of Islamic Relief USA headquarters is soon to be the largest food bank in the nation. As IRUSA has been sponsoring a project there, a few staff set off to see for themselves how this small state is tackling a hunger problem effecting 114,000 residents, primarily children and the elderly.
Run by Patricia Beebe, a self-avowed throwback from the 60s who has been at the helm for two decades, the first thing you notice when arriving is all the bright, cheery tie-dye colors – on the staff T-shirts, buildings, and the cars parked in the lot. There is also a similarly bright mobile terrarium filled with various sorts of plants that travels to schools to teach nutrition.
Once inside, there is a giant warehouse filled with racks of food and a “shopping” area where registered users can come and select items to bring home, even hard to come by items like baby formula. There is a special day for USDA qualifying senior citizens to come and where they will also receive fresh items. This is held at the end of each month, as usually by then their social security check has been used up on rent, medicine, and a little food, and they may go hungry until receiving the next one.
IRUSA staff next visited the volunteer room where a robust program is set up that welcomes those wanting to work on packing activities. Today it was the school backpack food that IRUSA is supporting and we quickly joined the ranks of those already there bagging up items such as canned pasta, milk and juice boxes, applesauce and oatmeal packets that food insecure children will receive to take home over the weekend. The parcels were packed up to be received at local schools with over 5,000 children participating weekly. The program was soon to end as the school year draws to a close, which will mean families will go hungry and will have to find summer feeding sites in their community until next fall.
Volunteers there were mixed gender and age. One young man who looked to barely be out of high school himself said he was there because he had to serve community service hours though corrections but he was almost done doing his time and had enjoyed the experience so much and giving back – that he planned to continue to be a regular volunteer.”
Read the full post on alliancetoendhunger.org