Cape Region neighbors need help

July 26, 2022

Who hasn’t experienced sticker shock while visiting the supermarket, pausing at a gas pump or paying our monthly bills?

In eastern Sussex County, most of us are fortunate to be able to absorb soaring costs, even though we don’t like them.

But imagine having to deal with record inflation if you have no steady income, work for less than a living wage or can’t afford decent housing.

Though some may prefer to look the other way, poverty, food insecurity and homelessness remain serious problems in Sussex County, and are present even in our wealthy beach communities.

One need only to read the pages of the Cape Gazette to realize that eastern Sussex County has a serious shortage of affordable housing. The affluent want services, but those who provide those services often can’t afford to live where they work, necessitating lengthy commutes – made even more painful by rising gasoline prices.

The housing issue is complex and involves many competing and conflicting interests. It likely won’t be satisfactorily resolved any time soon.

But there are other pressing needs that can be addressed in the near term. The solutions are clear and simple. And each of us can help.

Local food pantries are experiencing an upsurge in clients, in part due to inflation. Those who depend on government benefits, and those in low-wage jobs, simply aren’t able to absorb double-digit increases in the cost of food and other basic needs.

At the same time, inflation is making it more difficult for those who contribute to food pantries to continue to do so.

Working with the state and the University of Delaware, the Cape Community Coalition developed an interactive map of emergency food sources in Sussex County. To view the map, go to, click on the “resources” tab and then “map for emergency food sources”.

If you can, our coalition partners encourage you to contact a food pantry near you and ask what you can do to help. Needs may include canned foods, dry goods and other items that can be dropped off at designated times.

If you live in a community with a homeowners association, consider “adopting” a pantry and organizing a food collection event on its behalf.

And, if you have the means, consider a monetary contribution to any of the churches, senior centers or other organizations that help to provide nutritional security for our neighbors in need.

When our coalition formed at the beginning of the pandemic, we believed that many working together could accomplish more than a few working alone.

That remains as true today as it was in March 2020. We encourage you to join us in assisting the individuals and families – our neighbors - who experience ongoing food insecurity.

Jen Mason is convener of the Cape Community Coalition.



  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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