Over the course of nine days, the Delaware County Juvenile/Probate Court and the Delaware community rallied together and gathered enough food so that 170 families in the Delaware City School District could take home meals to feed them over the holiday break. In total, nearly 4,000 meals were handed out.
Karen Wadkins, fiscal coordinator for the court, said earlier this month that she and the court started gathering food after they learned that families would not be given meal kits over the holiday break. Wadkins said Tuesday that their goals were met in only nine days thanks to the community’s help and generosity.
“This project only further exemplified the wonderfulness that is Delaware,” Wadkins said. “A need was seen and help was prolifically offered.”
The meal kits included ingredients and basic recipes to make the most of the ingredients. The 3,986 meals worth of food were distributed to Dempsey Middle School and all of the Delaware City Schools elementary buildings earlier this week.
Court Administrator Katie Stenman said they were pleased to be able to step in and fill the gap to help the families.
“We identified a need,” Stenman said. “… Money and food just kept showing up. Twenty dollars here, a bag of food on a porch here. I was amazed.”
Stenman said she was encouraged by the community’s generosity.
“It was really impactful to see the community come together in that way,” she said. “It’s impactful where we can be helpful to our community partners. So often, when people come to court, they aren’t having their best day. When we can be helpful and help our community partners meet a need, that’s when it’s really exciting.”
Stenman added that she’s thankful and proud of the community.
“I’m really grateful to everyone who stepped up,” she said. “We just had so many people step up and contribute. Honestly, all that combined generosity became really impactful. I was really grateful to see the Delaware city community come together in that way. It make me really proud to live in this county.”
Smith Elementary School Principal Jake LeGros said he’s thankful to the court and to the community for coming through for school families.
“There are needs that arise, and we’re grateful that there are community members out there (that) still recognize need, still are able to help, and we were still able to provide this for families,” LeGros said. “Our families are always very appreciative of it. We’re very grateful that Delaware is that kind of place (where) people are out there willing to help.”
Delaware City Schools Superintendent Heidi Kegley said she’s grateful for the donations and support for district families.
“We know it means a lot to each of the families who are receiving the generous donations of food for the extended winter break,” Kegley said. “We are so grateful to the community partners and individuals who made this wonderful gift possible for our students and their families. This is one more shining example of how the Delaware community comes together to support each other.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.