This email was sent to volunteers on Wednesday, 7/8/20.

Happy Summer Everyone!

I hope that everyone has stayed safe and healthy since our last correspondence. I am writing today to let you know what’s been happening with the Food Pantry. I apologize for not having updated you sooner, but as you all know, facts about Covid-19 are constantly changing, and it has been difficult to predict what will happen next.

The Pantry Board of Directors has been meeting via Zoom on a regular basis to explore and discuss various options for our distributions. We care deeply for our clients and volunteers, and our continued goal is for everyone to feel safe while fulfilling our mission to provide food to our neighbors in need. 

Keeping that in mind, the Board feels that the following plans continue to provide the safest option for both our clients and our volunteers:

  • We have worked out a temporary partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware in which we have been able to order 2 types of emergency food boxes for distribution. 
  • We are supplementing these boxes with some extra sources of protein such as chicken, hot dogs, canned tuna and chicken, beans, chili, and stew.
  • We are distributing these emergency food boxes and meats using a drive-through model at the municipal parking lot across from the Milton Library. We are scheduling these distributions every other Monday when possible.
  • The number of volunteers needed for the Monday distribution is very limited.
  • Clients remain in their cars and are checked in, then move on to have their boxes placed in their vehicles.
  • Boxes are brought over to the parking lot for distribution by car/truck.

These open air distributions will most likely continue through the summer.  The distributions are  usually posted on Facebook, the website, the Cape Gazette, and the marquee outside of Goshen Hall. In spite of the advertising, we’ve been averaging approximately 38-40 families per distribution, with last week at the highest number (55 families). As you all know, that number is significantly lower than our usual number of families. I understand that food stamps and unemployment benefits have increased and that may be one reason for the decline in numbers. Two of our volunteers, Melinda Lopynski and Charlene Reitz, have spent a considerable amount of time calling approximately 193 clients to see how they were faring and to let them know that we were doing these open air distributions at the parking lot. Some of them did not know that we were still distributing, some were unreachable, and some indicated that they were afraid to come out.

In addition to our virtual board meetings, the Board has created a Building Committee, which has been meeting to determine the Pantry’s future needs in terms of a building that would be better suited to our new distribution model. The committee is exploring options of leasing, purchasing, and/or constructing a building in the Milton area. We are also entertaining the idea of having a thrift shop on the new premises to help sustain the pantry and its mission. 

Many of you have asked about food donations. Unfortunately, at this time, we are not accepting canned/dry food donations. This type of donation requires a great deal of handling of food items that have already been handled numerous times. Again, we are trying to protect the health and safety of our volunteers by avoiding this.

Many volunteers have also expressed a desire to help out. As you know, we have been working with a limited core of volunteers. The work we are doing involves carrying (24-30 pound) boxes, being in the heat and direct sunlight, and some contact with others (volunteers and clients). If you feel that this is something you would be able to do, please contact me at pantrymilton@gmail.com and I can give you more information.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate one of our volunteers, Larry Lieberman, who has been nominated as one of Milton’s Volunteers of the year! Great job, Larry! 

I would like to thank ALL of you for your support of the Pantry. Without you, we couldn’t do what we do! Please check your email as I will try to keep you updated of any changes in procedure. If you know of someone who does not have email, please let them know of this update. We will also post notices on Facebook and on our website, www.miltonpantry.org.

Thank you all and stay safe!

Donna