The Delaware County Juvenile and Probate Court is leading a food drive to help feed more than 150 Delaware City Schools families over the upcoming winter break.
Karen Wadkins, fiscal coordinator for the court, said Monday there are many families in the Delaware City School District who rely on the weekend food bags generated by the Family Resource Center. Wadkins said she recently learned that due to supply and financial issues, the last weekend bag of the year will be given to families on Dec. 15, leaving families without extra food for the two-week winter break.
“I think about all those families that are counting on (those supplies) … (not getting the food supplies) could be devastating to a family,” Wadkins said. “During that two-week break from school, (those families) are looking at ‘how can I feed my kids with breakfast, lunch and dinner?’ It’s about making sure that those families are taken care of over the holiday break.”
Wadkins said she and the court put together a list of supplies and contacted Heidi Kegley, the superintendent of Delaware City Schools, to fill the gap and provide those 170 families with food supplies to make it through the break.
Wadkins said the supplies also come with easy recipe cards created by court staff that lay out how to prepare all of the simple meals, like beef stew, that are in the bag.
“They aren’t difficult recipes. It’s about making the bag work for those families,” Wadkins said.
Wadkins began soliciting help from the community via a social media post asking for food donations or monetary donations that will go towards purchasing food.
The response was immediate, she said, adding, for example, Asbury United Methodist Church literally contacted her to arrange donations within hours of the post being up.
“(We’ve already) collected enough to do 60-65 bags,” Wadkins said. “It’s amazing. It comes out of nowhere. It’s coming from all our usual agencies. It’s been a tremendous turnout in a short period of time. It’s always incredible how quickly Delaware rallies around those in need.”
Wadkins said donations can be dropped off at the juvenile court or individuals with donations can contact her at [email protected] to arrange a pick-up or drop-off time. Wadkins said she would like all donations by Dec. 19 to give the school district time to make sure the food makes it to the families.
Jennifer Ruhe, director of communications for Delaware City Schools, said the district is thankful for Wadkins’ help.
“We really appreciate the efforts of Karen Wadkins and others who have a passion for serving our community and addressing food insecurity,” Ruhe said. “We are especially grateful for the extra effort to secure resources to provide meal supplies and pantry staples to our families in need for the extended winter break.”
Wadkins said she’s thankful for the turnout from the community.
“It’s an amazing turnout every time we turn to our community and ask,” she said. “I always really appreciate everybody jumping in. It’s wonderful how quickly everybody jumps in. Every single time, there’s always someone there to help.”