Volunteer Brewing collects groceries for families

Amanda Parrish * Delaware
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Across the country, families are struggling to buy groceries due to job loss and empty store shelves. Volunteer Brewing Company is asking community members to raid their pantries to help families in the Middletown area.

The Middletown brewery has donated nonperishable groceries to the Appoquinimink School District to give away to families for their grab-and-go meals.

“When we became aware that schools were closing — we have three kids in the district — we were aware that many children in our community and across the country rely on meals at school for nutritional needs,” said Dawn Schatz, co-owner of Volunteer Brewing.

They asked their customers to drop off grocery donations March 15. Schatz said they ended up with two carloads of food.

“We were open on Sunday and were expecting a decent crowd. We made an announcement on Saturday for guests who were coming to please consider donating goods,” she said. “As they always do, they came out in force and overwhelmed us with their response.

Appo gives them away at their grab-and-go meal stop at Louis L. Redding Middle School for children ages 1 to 18. 

Jackee Wade, Appoquinimink schools social worker, said any family that comes by and says they need groceries can get two bags.

“We truly appreciate that the community has offered to support some of our students who otherwise might not have what they need while we are out on break during this situation,” Wade said.

Groceries also come from the food pantry at Middletown High School, which is filled with donations from the community.

Although the brewing company is closed this weekend, Schatz said they are continuing to ask for nonperishable items. The brewery is typically closed during weekdays. 

The school district asked Volunteer if they could collect more breakfast items. On the morning of March 18, the company asked the community in a Facebook post to donate in a bin on their back porch. Just six hours later, the bin overflowed, Schatz said.

Our town is just over-the-top incredible,” she said.

Schatz, who is a clinical social worker by day, said they will continue to collect items on an ongoing basis.

“We don’t know the timeline for how long schools will be out, so we will continue it for the time being,” she said. “We will deliver to the school every couple days.”

For anyone interested in donating, drop off food at Volunteer Brewing Company,120 W. Main St. Those who need groceries can pick them up at Louis L. Redding Middle School at 201 New St.