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Westminster’s Food Referral Program to St. Stephen’s Food Pantry

Each Wednesday morning, Susan Alexander and several volunteers meet with clients seeking a referral to St. Stephen's Food Pantry, a service of Lutheran Community Services (LCS) of Delaware, located in St. Stephen's Lutheran Church at 1301 North Broom Street. The process isn't nearly as straightforward as it may sound. It's not just about completing the referral form, which includes questions about residency, proof of identity, family members, and income. Susan and the volunteers, with patience and care, gently shift into more expansive conversations with the clients as they relate their stories of struggle and how they are reaching out to meet the needs of their families.

Susan describes this outreach as very moving. "You get attached to these families. I remember my first time doing this. I found a letter on my desk 10 years ago from a client who was having a baby and needed help financially. I still feel a connection to her."

Susan explains that during the interviews, "we have conversations and I learn the circumstances of their life. When they are here, I can refer them to agencies for utility or housing assistance. One day, a lady came in and needed shelter for that night, and I was able to get her into a shelter. It makes me feel how fortunate I am for what I have—I can't imagine not knowing if I had a place to sleep tonight. It feels so good to be able to help—you know they really appreciate it."

With their attitude of compassion, care, and patience, Susan and her dedicated group of volunteers are helping to build community with struggling families in Wilmington by showing them that "we are here for you."