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The Food Bank of Delaware works to bring federal assistance to local programming

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

The Food Bank of Delaware hosted USDA Administrator for Food and Nutrition Services Cindy Long, regional Food Bank leaders, and local advocates to discuss services provided by Food Banks across the US.

While Food Banks may receive federal and state funding for certain initiatives and programming, they are not a government entity- and each finds itself with different needs, with different funding sources and programming that serve different communities.

Long says being able to meet with individual food banks to hear about those needs allow her to help inform federal spending and programming.

“For example, today we had a conversation with the leadership of the Food Bank of Delaware about their perception that they really need a stable source of federal funding to help keep the emergency food system on an even keel. And that’s really the kind of feedback we need to hear,” said Long.

In Delaware, the end of the emergency food benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as ongoing supply chain issues, have left the Food Bank with a demand that’s difficult to meet.

And that demand only increases during summer break as students lose access to school-provided breakfasts and lunches.

With the deadline on the minds of Food Banks nationwide, Long says a long-standing federal program that aids in feeding kids when school is out may now be able to do more.

“We just recently got the opportunity, thanks to legislation Congress passed, to really expand that program,” explained Long. “And Food Banks are going to be at the forefront of that. It basically allows folks to send food home with families, or to allow for pick ups. And allows for some of the mechanisms that we saw during the pandemic to be part of the program on a permanent basis.”

Changes to this federal program are set to take effect this summer, and include making food more accessible to rural, low-income areas of the country.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and a graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021