The Food Bank of Delaware started in 1981 at a local Presbyterian church. Now, the Food Bank has a network of 575 partners that provide food services to more than 117,000 Delawareans.
One of those partners is the Church of the Holy Cross in Dover, staffed entirely by volunteers.
“On any given day there are probably five to seven volunteers working,” says Kathy Lessard, a volunteer and coordinator of the food pantry.
Lessard is also part of the Samaritans, a volunteer organization within the Church of the Holy Cross. The Samaritans are a vital part of the food pantry, helping with purchasing, sorting, packing and distributing food to families in need.
The food pantry at the Church of the Holy Cross is located in a former carriage house behind the church and rectory. It is larger than many food pantries, and easily accommodates the volunteer pool of 30.
The busiest time of the year is between November and February, but the Samaritans are busy year-round. Last year they served 1,270 families and 3,424 individuals.
“Although we have helped many families, I feel the work that I do with the church ministry has been a blessing to me throughout the years,” Lessard says.
Besides maintaining a larger-than-most food pantry, the Church of the Holy Cross is also involved in many outreach projects, including a prison ministry through the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing. The church also partners with other churches in the Dover area, and they all work together to provide hot meals, food and finances.
“Our main goal of the food pantry is to provide emergency food for needy families, where each family is provided a week’s worth of food,” says Lessard.