Selbyville library earns grant money to feed more

In summertime, public libraries can function like a community center. The Selbyville Public Library serves up information, education, games — and they’re also winning grants to serve more meals than ever.

Thanks to several prizes and partnerships, in 2020, the Selbyville Public Library will expand its summer meal program to five days a week.

This month, the Delaware Library Association awarded the library the full $500 Community Engagement Grant that library representatives had requested.

“We felt it was a worthy endeavor because it was a program they’ve already run. … There’s a track record, and they’re expanding it to the entire family,” said DLA grant coordinator Michelle Hughes.

“It’s been successful in the four years we’ve been doing this,” said SPL Director Kelly Kline.

“It’s successful because it was needed,” added SPL Board Member Dawn LeKites.

“We have kids that are home by themselves, like middle school, high school kids, that will come, that live within walking distance,” said SPL Youth Program Coordinator Megan Bunting. “It’s moms who are just wanting to get out of the house and not have to worry about feeding their kids one day. It’s all ethnicities. It’s all ages. So, when we say for everyone — it’s literally for everyone.”

Last summer, youth of all ages could receive a free lunch on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (thanks to the Delaware Food Bank). People of all ages could also eat on Tuesdays (thanks to Selbyville’s The Odyssey church), and now on Thursdays (thanks to Fenwick Island’s One Coastal restaurant and, they hope, more restaurant partners).

Right now, the library is seeking to partner with an additional restaurant to fill a few more Thursdays of food service.

They recently received another $500 from the Southern Sussex Rotary Club.

“It’s a great blessing,” Bunting said. “Knowing we have that opportunity on Tuesdays to reach a good number of people, we felt that it would be wonderful to be able to do that again on another day of the week.”

There is also an educational element — food and health literacy — as the coordinators or chefs might discuss food prep or where it’s grown.

“The Town fully supports the library,” said Selbyville Town Administrator Stacey Long. “I’m just glad to see so many great things happening in Selbyville. This is a great program.”

“It’s more than a place to check out books!” said LeKites.

“The books are really great, too,” Kline said.

The public can also contribute by donating ancillary food items, such as water or kid-friendly snacks.

The Selbyville Public Library is located at 11 Main and McCabe Streets, Selbyville, Del. For more information, call (302) 436-8195 or visit www.selbyvillelibrary.org.

 

By Laura Walter
Staff Reporter