Feeling and Filling the Need
A simple yet successful movement that collects items for Wilmington-area charities is about to broaden its reach.
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A grassroots movement that’s helped many Wilmington-area nonprofits during the past year may soon be coming to your town.
Fill the Need, which celebrated its first anniversary in December, involves people joining to collect items for local nonprofits and other agencies. Once a month, a member hosts a coffee or lunch in his or her home, where participants hear a presentation by the beneficiary of the host’s choosing. Then the participants gather items such as diapers, toiletries, canned goods or whatever else is needed. Items are then distributed to the respective charities.
The response has been overwhelming, says Tricia.
Lyons, who hatched the idea with New Castle County Executive Chris Coons. “We ask them to bring a bag of diapers or a can of formula, but they’re coming up carrying cases of stuff,” Lyons says. “It’s not just cleaning out your closets. These people are going to Target and buying stuff.”
The list of participants continues to grow by word-of-mouth, and the amount of items collected during each of the 10 events has been measured in carloads. Lyons says Fill the Need will catch on quickly across the state because the concept is so simple. First lady Carla Markell has signed on to spread the message. To hear Lyons tell it, becoming involved can be contagious.
“People will ask, ‘Can I host one?’” she says. “And I say, ‘Sure. You get to pick the cause.’ It’s kind of like, tag, you’re it.”
Beneficiaries have included Delaware Adolescent Program Inc., Food Bank of Delaware, Support Our Trops and the YWCA. Some events serve more than one nonprofit.
Elisa Morris of Wilmington, who hosted an event for Children & Families First, praises Lyons, Coons and everyone who has taken part. “They know how important it is to be aware of the community around you,” Morris says. “They just get it.”
For more info or to join, visit filltheneed.net. —Drew Ostroski
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