A blessing for families: Aliyah’s Cupboard aids child hospitalization challenge

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 8/1/21

MILLSBORO — A Sussex County family that experienced a child medical crisis is offering support to other families facing similar challenges through Aliyah’s Cupboard Inc. — a …

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A blessing for families: Aliyah’s Cupboard aids child hospitalization challenge


MILLSBORO — A Sussex County family that experienced a child medical crisis is offering support to other families facing similar challenges through Aliyah’s Cupboard Inc. — a charitable nonprofit that provides gift baskets to bless families with a child in a local hospital.

Bikers, car enthusiasts, businesses and supporters joined the family Saturday in a fun-filled fundraiser at the organizational hub for Aliyah’s Cupboard on White Street in Millsboro.

“Blessing families with a basket full of love. That’s our logo,” said Gail Reid, Aliyah’s grandmother.

The nonprofit is named in memory of Aliyah Simms, the 22-month-old daughter of Alexa Howard and Kevin Simms, founder of Aliyah’s Cupboard. Aliyah, who had other medical conditions, passed away from congestive heart failure Dec. 18, 2018 at then Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, now TidalHealth Nanticoke in Seaford.

Aliyah’s Cupboard Inc. provides personal-size toiletries and other necessities, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand lotion, tissues, powder, a gift card, a personal message from Kevin Simms, a pen and small notepad and activity books for kids.

Saturday’s event featured motorcycle and car displays, silent auction baskets, 50/50 raffles, food and music. A charity ride from Millsboro to Seaford was also scheduled. The fundraiser supports Aliyah Cupboard’s ongoing efforts at TidalHealth.

Kelly Novak, Volunteer Manager for TidalHealth, recalls her initial meeting with Ms. Reid.

“We talked. It’s a great opportunity to minister to our families that are coming through the emergency department with children, and that may to get transferred up to a location, or even have a short, unexpected stay at the hospital,” said Ms. Novak. “Gail has been very gracious. We’ve been able to bring some of these packets to Crisfield, Maryland to TidalHealth McCready’s Emergency Department. We are trying to not just share them at Nanticoke but throughout Delmarva.”

Ziplock bags with personal items for the parents go in string backpacks provided by TidalHealth.

“I became acquainted with Gail Reid and her husband Linwood about two years ago,” said Pastor Frank Gibbs of New Dimension Church in Millsboro. “From that point on she began to share with me the vision for Aliyah’s Cupboard. The vision came about because when she was traveling back and forth for hospital visits. The idea came about to just help families who are traveling, who have children who maybe are at A.I. duPont (in Wilmington), Johns Hopkins (in Baltimore) … with care packages, things that they don’t necessarily provide in the hospitals for families.”

While perhaps small in the grand scheme, these gifts of personal essentials can mean the world to parents and families suddenly facing crisis.

“It gives the families a moment to breathe,” said Ms. Novak. “I know it’s valuable for our staff as well. Because sometimes when they (parents) are in a situation where they have to go out, our staff feels like they can still help them. It gives them something that is not medical. We can still give them a little love. It’s kind of like adding a little bit of sparkle on a very dark day.”

“Certainly, this is something that is helpful for our community as well. Because you never know what is going to happen in life. You may have a child that may get sick, or a grandchild, a niece, or a nephew,” said Pastor Gibbs, who offered the food blessing at Saturday’s fundraiser.

“For us, it’s just a blessing,” said Ms. Reid. “We don’t know who these baskets are going to. But, every once in a while, we get a phone call. And somebody even just stopped by and put a personal note in our mailbox that just said, ‘Thank you so much!’ And that note, it just meant the world to us.”

Active as best as possible during the pandemic, Aliyah’s Cupboard is gearing for expanded outreach, awareness and fundraising.

“2019 was our starting year and, then of course, 2020 hit. But we were still communicating. This is the beginning of our reaching out to the community to let them know that we are here and that we support them.”

For more information on Aliyah’s Cupboard, visit https://aliyahscupboard.wixsite.com/home.

Night of Elegance

Aliyah’s Cupboard Inc. is going formal with a black tie affair – Night of Elegance – on Saturday, Dec. 18. The fundraising event, billed as “good food and great music and fun” will be held at the Millsboro Fire Hall, starting at 6 p.m.

Advance tickets are $45 per couple, or $25 for single. Tickets at the door are $50 per couple and $30 per single.

To RSVP, contact Gail Reid, Aliyah’s Cupboard Inc., at (302) 470-6192.