Our Lady of Guadalupe food pantry

Volunteers at the Our Lady of Guadalupe food pantry put together bags of food for families in need. Demand at the food pantry has nearly tripled since the pandemic began, from about 60 families each week to 150 or more.

Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) is a mission parish of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bethany Beach. OLG is a popular church among area Catholics, including Hispanics who attend Mass in Spanish, and the church runs a food pantry through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

Tish Galu is the president of the St. Vincent DePaul charity in the parish. She and four teams of 10 people deliver food every week to between 150 and 175 needy families in the area, all of whom are known to the parish as having a food shortage.

This was a big week for the OLG food pantry, as Holly Kia representatives arrived with 30 frozen turkeys, with the stipulation that they be provided to area residents that same day, Thursday, the week before Thanksgiving. Another donor then arrived on-scene with 40 hams for the holiday, and again, “We had to do it today,” said Galu.

The St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry at OLG does not have cold storage and usually provides staple items that don’t require refrigeration. So, last week, at the regular food distribution time of 8:30 to 10 a.m., there was a bounty of poultry and pork.

“It’s a God thing,” said Galu. “When you think you are not going to have enough, and then you do have plenty, that is really the Holy Spirit working with us.”

Galu added that, prior to the pandemic, the OLG food pantry, as administered through St. Vincent DePaul, used to host 60 families a month. Now, the need has nearly tripled, to as many as 175 per month.

“The need is great,” she said.

OLG distributes from literally a “pantry closet” with staple items each week filling two grocery bags. These items include rice; beans; pasta, including macaroni; peanut butter and jelly; and cereals. The food pantry also provides expensive cleaning supplies, such as laundry detergent and other cleansers that are not covered by the EBT (food stamps) program. Finally, there is a grocery store cash card donation for groceries. Casapulla’s restaurant also donates fresh bread to the cause every week.

The OLG has a garden and is able to grow fresh vegetables from spring until late fall. The last fresh produce distribution was on Thursday last week, and included potatoes, kale, carrots, beets and turnips.

“We place very large orders of food every week to feed these people,” said Galu. “We have a climate-controlled area for storage at beach storage, and therefore the staples come back and forth to our little pantry.

“We are also thankful for donations, which, again, must be brought only on Thursdays, when the pantry is open to receive them,” said Galu, because the church is only open on weekends for Mass or during these food distribution times on Thursdays. “Of course, checks are also wonderful around this holiday season!” she added.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe food pantry is open on Thursday every week, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. except on the second Thursday of each month, when it is closed in the morning but open from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Donations are gratefully accepted, and checks may be sent to: St. Vincent DePaul (or SVDP), P.O. Box 879, Ocean View, DE 19970. The OLG mission church is located at: 35318 Church Road (Roxana Road), Frankford.

Staff Reporter

Mike has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern and is a 25-year member of the National Press Club. He has won four national writing awards for editorial work. He is a native of McLean, Va., and lives in Millville.