The shelves at Southern Elementary School’s food pantry are stocked for Thanksgiving thanks to a donation from Delaware City Refinery.

Representatives from Delaware City Refinery donated hundreds of non-perishable food items to the Colonial School District to use in their food pantries for needy students and their families.

They also presented the elementary school with a $5,000 check to use for school programs and additional food.

In the last year, the school district started food pantries in five of their schools, to help fight hunger among students and struggling families.

According to Paula Angelucci, supervisor of nutrition services for the Colonial School District, approximately 58 percent of students in the district qualify for free or discounted lunches and many parents rely on food banks to help feed their families.

Angelucci said the school food pantries are confidential and don’t require any paper work. Families can use the service as needed.

“There is no financial income or intake information,” said Angelucci. “You might have someone that just needs assistance because of a high bill that month so there’s no actual income requirement which is nice. That way, our coordinators of the pantries can actually just service people in finding what their needs may be.”

The idea for the Delaware City Refinery to partner with the school district came about during a community advisory panel meeting where Southern Elementary’s Assistant Principal Dave Distler talked to the group about the pantry. The idea caught the attention of Delaware City Plant Manager Herman Seedorf who made the call for action.

“Our employees who understand the hunger need, they came out in full force and brought in food and clothing. It was fabulous to see when it was time to pick up the bins and they were full,” said Lisa Lindsey, community relations manager for Delaware City. “It was overwhelming and it’s a fabulous thing to see them come together, understand the need of hunger as well as their desire to feed our youngest neighbors here at Southern Elementary School.”

Assistant Superintendent Carlton Lampkins was at the donation drop-off and expressed his gratitude for the company’s gift.

“It’s a very exciting experience to know that schools and businesses and the community can come together on one accord to really fight hunger is what were talking about,” said Lampkins. “As one of my colleagues said, ‘hunger does not take a holiday,’ it’s ongoing and just to have the opportunity as a school district working with a big business in our school district to provide food for the needy families of our school district is a wonderful thing, and we’re grateful for the Delaware City Refining Company for them sharing their resources with us.”

The Delaware City Refinery also donated $3,000 to Wilbur Elementary to foster their reading program. The money will be used to purchase Nook e-readers for fourth grade reading classes.