Volunteering as a family (Julie, Ed, Annabelle, Georgia Gillespie)

During the COVID-19 crisis, the need for nutritious meals in Kent County has more than doubled, and the community has stepped up. The Backpack Program in Kent County has been providing weekend meals to students with food insecurity for more than a decade in coordination with public schools, an effort organized by the Kent County Community Food Pantry with help from volunteer groups at Olivet Methodist Church, Rock Hall United Methodist Charge, Chestertown Presbyterian Church, and Washington College.

When Washington College students were sent home for safety measures, their supplies and packing materials were moved to the Worton Community Center, and community members have come together to keep the operation running smoothly. The schools have been distributing Grab and Go breakfasts, lunches, and suppers to students daily at 15 sites around the county, and on Fridays, a Backpack weekend bag is also offered.

Each week during the crisis, the number of students receiving meals has increased, and the number of Backpack bags distributed weekly has more than doubled. The Community Food Pantry has committed to keeping up with these numbers by increasing purchases of food from the Maryland Food Bank and coordinating volunteer efforts. Financial donations to assist in these purchases are greatly appreciated. https://kentfoodpantry.org/donate/

Backpack bags packed and ready to go in wagons and shopping carts on loan from Acme grocery store

Backpack volunteers unload trucks, pack bags, inventory food, load school buses, and sew masks. The Worton Community Center is a hub of activity, with other volunteer groups putting together student breakfasts and bags for homebound seniors. It is also one of 15 sites where student meals are distributed. Careful precautions are maintained with social distancing, hygiene, gloves, and masks to protect everyone involved in these essential services.

Click here to view a short video of the action https://youtu.be/Brh3Vm9qDj4.

The Kent County Community Food Pantry continues to be open as well, distributing meals on a grab and go basis to those in need.

For Pantry info, hours of operation, or to volunteer or donate to these efforts, please visit the website at https://kentfoodpantry.org/.

For more information, contact:
Rachel Perry, Backpack Programs