The Colonial School District and the Food Bank of Delaware are partnering once again, opening five new food pantries to help poor and working class families, for a total of six food pantries in the district alone.
“More and more children are qualifying for free and reduced lunches and breakfasts. So we know that the number of kids and their families who are in poverty is going up. So we know that there’s a need, statewide, for this kind of program,” said Patricia Beebe, president of the Food Bank of Del.
District leaders say growing demand at the already established food pantry at Eisenberg Elementary School in New Castle prompted the move.
“We serve between 10 and 15 families a month and often those families do come back,” said Molly Perdue. Perdue is the elementary school’s family crisis therapist. She says Eisenberg’s food pantry has served 170 families since it opened a year ago; 300 of them adults, 500 children.
Chiante Green’s family is among the dozens helped by Eisenberg’s food pantry. “I’ve come in here many days ready to cry in tears that I have no food.” But thanks to Molly and the food pantry, Green says now food is one less thing she has to stress about.
“It was enough food to last, like I would buy two weeks worth of food, and then get two weeks worth of food from Molly, so it stretched.”
And now more families, like Green’s, will be able to access food pantries at their schools within the district. In addition to Eisenberg, the five new food pantries within Colonial’s district can be found at:
Castle Hills Elementary School
New Castle School
William Penn High School
Southern Elementary School
Pleasantville Elementary School
“I think Colonial School District is doing what all school districts throughout Delaware should be doing. And that is identifying the needs not only of their children, but also of their families,” said Beebe, who hopes the state’s other school districts will follow Colonial’s lead.