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Service Hours

On Saturday - humid and overcast - I spent a few hours in the parking lot of the DSU campus on Kirkwood Highway, helping a few local electeds with a community Food Bank event. The Food Bank brought a truck and set up a distribution station; the National Guard Public Health team set up a COVID and flu vaccine station. And over the course of two hours, nearly 75 families came through — including mine, once I found out about the flu shots, because how easy is that? No appointment, no waiting, just in and done.

Did I sign up out of the goodness of my heart. I mean, sure, but also — I like showing up for events for people I do some work with, because then hopefully when I need them to, they take my calls. Plus I was listening for a little insider info on the upcoming redistricting process - look out Delaware, come November you may have a whole new State Senator and State Rep, depending on where you live. Stay tuned!

Here’s what I learned. The guy who drives the truck and unloads the pallets? He loves his job. He loves being out in the world, couldn’t imagine sitting behind a desk, so happy to be out helping people in the community. His process was seamless - every volunteer mans (or womans) a pallet, and when the car drives up, they pop their trunk and volunteers each put one item from their pallet into the car - a box of produce, a box of assorted dry goods, paper goods, frozen chicken, butter, cans of peaches, bottles of apple juice. One man got out of the car to go around and thank each individual person, and then asked if he could have some extra peaches because - behind his mask - he doesn’t have all of his front teeth. We were so happy he asked - we never would have known. The security guard from DSU came through the line at the end, he said he knows a few families that could use the help and could he deliver? One car had us all wondering if it would make it through the line, lots of duct tape holding together the exterior; one guy said he just saw the sign out front offering “free food today” and he thought, with a six year old and a four year old at home, that every little bit helps. He said his kids would be so happy with the bottle of apple juice - he and his wife never buy it. We nestled quite a few boxes around sleeping children in backseats, quietly closing car doors so mom could get back on the road and home during nap time.

In addition to serving so many families with fresh food and non-perishables, the NG team gave dozens of vaccines - a few COVID, at least one COVID booster, and many flu shots.

Here’s what else I learned: the Food Bank isn’t only for people who are experiencing poverty - the Food Bank is for anyone that needs a little extra help from time to time. And the Food Bank would LOVE you to volunteer. They are heading into their busy season, the driver told me. Teenagers can volunteer for service hours; groups can volunteer together. If you donate to a Food Bank event, consider baby items like diapers and formula. Instead of donating a variety of things, donate a lot of one item — it makes it easier on the sorting and distributing team for mobile pantry events like the one I attended.

Tis the season for giving back. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.

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