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New Castle County puts CARES Act funds toward fighting food insecurity

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Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
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New Castle County is directing a portion of its CARES Act funding toward organizations fighting food insecurity. 

County officials joined nonprofit leaders Tuesday to announce $1.5 million will be distributed as grants to groups providing food assistance. 

The money will come from the more than $320 million the County received in federal coronavirus relief funds. Non-profits, churches and grass-roots organizations that provide food can apply.

State Sen. Tizzy Lockman co-chaired one of the County’s CARES Act Task Force committees that recommended the grants. She says food insecurity was a problem in Delaware even before the pandemic—and now food assistance programs are struggling. 

“We know now that those organizations are facing a crisis of their own,” said Lockman. “Donations and volunteers that these organizations are depending on are drying up just as the need for their assistance really has never been greater.”

The Food Bank of Delaware is among the organizations expected to apply to the new grant program.

Food Bank Community Relations Director Chad Robinson said during a press event Tuesday that since the pandemic began food insecurity has increased dramatically in Delaware, and the Food Bank and its partners have distributed millions of pounds of food. 

“We can show a little bit more hope today than maybe we did yesterday because we know that— thanks to the efforts to New Castle County government, thanks to the efforts of our County Executive Matt Meyer— those over 600 hunger relief partners of ours at the Food Bank, us, Bright Spot urban farm, others will be able to reach out to our County, get a little bit extra help to ensure that we can continue that work,” said Robinson.

The County has recently announced CARES Act-funded grant programs to spur innovation around “flattening the curve” and to support health equity. The County’s CARES Act funds are also going to support state housing programs and reimburse municipalities and fire companies for COVID-19 expenses. 

The County must spend the federal dollars by the end of December.

 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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