New Castle County is rolling out a $1.5 million grant program aimed at supporting non-profit organizations trying to meet the needs of the hungry.
County Executive Matt Meyer made the announcement at an event on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at Bright Spot Urban Farm in Minquadale.
Chad Robinson from the Food Bank of Delaware said people were having trouble putting food on the table prior to the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"So many people are struggling with being able to put adequate food on the table for themselves and their families. They're not sure where that next meal is going to come from," said Robinson.
"They are thinking about how to make that payment of the mortgage or medicine that's needed, and then how to buy food with those same dollars. That was all pre-COVID."
"Thousands of Delawareans are struggling with all of those same questions at the same time they are struggling with not being employed, becoming under-employed, experiencing being furloughed and not being sure if they're going to be called back to work," said Robinson.
Paul Calistro with West End Neighborhood House, which runs Bright Spot Urban Farm, said food distribution programs ramped up right away when the coronavirus hit.
"We didn't know where the pandemic was going to go at the end of February but they said 'folks are going to be hungry, and we're not going to let one person who asks for food go hungry," Calistro said.
Robinson said now they're in it for the long haul.
"This is 18, 24--maybe longer--months that we'll be dealing with this scourge of COVID-19, and dealing with the food insecurity results of this pandemic."
State Senator Elizabeth "Tizzy" Lockman said it’s been churches and non-profits that have stepped up during what she said was the greatest public health crisis in 100 years.
"It's going to help address that perfect storm by filling in gaps, by keeping all these organizations going a little longer and maybe a little stronger."