Food Bank services credited with improved outlook on life

0904_Hawkins (2)By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

It’s hard to imagine that there is anyone more grateful for the services provided by the Food Bank of Delaware than Edward Hawkins.

This Dover resident had undergone some difficult and stressful times before a friend told him about Food Bank programs provided through Calvary Assembly of God, one of our 550 partners engaged in hunger-relief operations.

A Vietnam-era Navy veteran and former maintenance technician, Edward moved from Pennsylvania to Dover in order to be closer to his wife’s sister. He was injured on the job in 2008 and applied for disability benefits. His wife of 23 years became ill and died of cancer last year.

“At that time, I lost weight because I was not eating well. I was positioning myself to die,” said Edward, recounting the combined negative impact of grief and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A friend noticed his situation and suggested he connect with the Food Bank.

“I registered and got a box of food,” he said, and he wrote down what was happening in his life as he started on the road to recovery.

“I filled in the shortfall in my SNAP benefit allotments,” he wrote.

Edward, 58, shared the positive impact of the Food Bank of Delaware’s hunger-relief efforts with legislators in June when the Food Bank lobbied for state support in Delaware’s Legislative Hall.

He clearly loves to cook and eat healthy food and has embraced the Community Supported Agriculture program in which he received a box of farm-fresh produce at the Loockerman Way Farmers’ Market every Wednesday during the growing season. He was one of 149 families participating each week.

“That is a lot of good food they are providing,” he said. “I tell people that’s the reason I’m here, eating things like fresh greens.”

In addition, the fresh produce provides him an opportunity to try new foods and experiment with innovative recipes. He often offers his neighbors a chance to taste what he’s created.

“Healthy food can be so good, and I introduce them to something they’ve never had,” he added, sharing the preparation details of his impromptu entrees.

“I wish more people could be a part of the CSA. I know some people don’t know these programs are available,” he said.

To learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware’s hunger-fighting programs, visit http://www.fbd.org.

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Partner Spotlight: ERC Resource House

The Edgemoor Revitalization Cooperative Resource House is tucked away in the Edgemoor Gardens neighborhood just north of the city of Wilmington. With a neighborhood of close to 2,000 residents, the ERC Resource House provides empowerment opportunities for residents.

Under the leadership of Cheri Whitney, Edgemoor Gardens became one of ten Blueprint Communities in Delaware focused on improved sustainability and quality of life for families. The Blueprint program in Delaware is a partnership between the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and the University of Delaware Center for Community Research. The program provides intensive training, technical assistance, coaching as well as initial seed funding to competitively selected neighborhoods throughout the state to help them formulate plans to revitalize their communities.

Through the Resource House, families have access a number of resources to help lift them out of poverty. Whitney says the goal of the Resource House is to create a family environment.

“We have a core group of 40-50 residents who are ready to take the community to the next level of comfort,” she says. “We want to make this a community of choice where people want to live here.”

Over the summer, the Food Bank of Delaware provided free meals to children in Edgemoor Gardens through the Summer Food Service Program and weekend meals through the Summer Backpack Program. Each day 50 children visited the Resource House for a nutritious lunch.

“If it wasn’t for Cheri, half the kids in the neighborhood would not have meals,” said one parent during lunchtime.

In addition to distributing free meals all summer long, ERC also distributed backpacks just before the start of school thanks to the generosity of the Wilmington Flower Market.

Programming at the ERC Resource House is yearlong. Whitney and her team are proud to host an after-school teen program, funded by the Delaware Department of Education. Participants attend the program Monday-Thursday and take field trips to colleges and hold career days and more.

Gardens also play an important role in creating a healthier, happier and greener community. Gardens are spread throughout the community educating community members about healthy eating and beautifying the community.

Check out some more pictures from our visit to ERC!

 

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Food Bank of Delaware kicks off its annual Thanksgiving food/funds drive

We kicked off our annual Thanksgiving food and funds drive today. We need the community’s assistance in collecting food items and monetary donations in order to create 4,000 Thanksgiving meal boxes for families in need!

Through our Thanksgiving for All holiday box distribution, eligible 501(c)3 organizations in New Castle and Kent counties will have an opportunity to pick up free meal boxes from the Food Bank of Delaware for families in need. Organizations in Sussex County may sign up for Mountaire Farm’s Thanksgiving for Thousands distribution. Households in need of holiday food assistance should call the Delaware Helpline by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-464-4357.

To help fill the boxes, the Food Bank is asking for the public’s assistance in making sure that no Delawarean goes without a holiday meal this season. Businesses, schools, faith-based organizations and other community groups are encouraged to organize food drives throughout the holiday season. Food for the Thanksgiving boxes must be received by Friday, November 7. Food received after that time will be distributed to our network of Hunger-Relief Program Partners.

Most-needed items include:

  • Juice
  • Coffee/tea
  • Cereal/oatmeal
  • Canned ham
  • Cornbread/bread/muffin mix
  • Gravy packets/canned gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Corn
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Pudding boxes
  • Pumpkin
  • Mixed fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Frozen turkeys (must be dropped off to our Newark or Milford facilities)

In addition to hosting food drives, fundraisers are also a helpful way to collect much-needed funds to purchase food. Bank of America’s Give A Meal program is an easy way for Delawareans to help support hunger-relief efforts in the First State. For every $1 donated, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give $2 more, up to $1.5 million. The program enables individuals to make a donation to Feeding America nationally or support the Food Bank of Delaware. Donations can be made at www.bankofamerica.com/give.

“More than 10,000 people in our community rely on the Food Bank’s network of Hunger-Relief Programs for assistance each week,” said Chip Rossi, Delaware market president at Bank of America. “Putting food on the table is a challenge that many hard-working Delawareans face, but fortunately they don’t have to face it alone. The Give A Meal program allows people to extend the impact of their giving so our neighbors don’t have to choose between feeding their families and paying their bills.”

“It takes all of us working together to meet the emergency food needs of Delawareans, not just during the holiday season, but year round,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Together, we can make sure seniors, children, hardworking families, veterans, active members of the military and others who rely on our services have a hot Thanksgiving meal.”

Those who collect more than 20 boxes/bags of donated food may make arrangements with the Food Bank of Delaware to have donations picked up. In an effort to save money on transportation costs, the food bank asks that donations of fewer than 20 bags/boxes be dropped off at the food bank’s Newark or Milford facilities:

Food Bank of Delaware – Newark
14 Garfield Way
Newark, DE  19713
(302) 292-1305
Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Food Bank of Delaware – Milford
1040 Mattlind Way
Milford, DE 19963
(302) 424-3301
Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information about hosting a holiday food drive, please visit http://www.fbd.org/holiday-food-drives/.   Organizations who are interested in serving as a drop-off location for holiday food donations may contact Caitlin Custer, Donor Outreach Coordinator, at ccuster@fbd.org or (302) 292-1305 ext 253.

To sign up to receive holiday meal boxes, please contact Naty Russo at (302) 444-8077 or nrusso@fbd.org. Organizations in Sussex County wishing to learn more about Mountaire Farm’s Thanksgiving for Thousands distribution may visit http://www.mountaire.com/thanksgiving/. Households in need of food assistance may call the Delaware Helpline by dialing 2-1-1 (or 1-800-464-4357).

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Culinary Student Spotlight: Erik Korona

0929_Eric_spotlight1For Eric Korona, a student in The Culinary School at the Milford Branch, the educational experience goes beyond the kitchen and classroom because his association with the training program also created a connection to part-time employment.

Eric, 46, is a Dover resident who knows all too well how tough today’s economy is. He was unemployed for a more than a year, volunteering to keep his SNAP benefits coming in, while searching unsuccessfully for work.

His lack of formal training and health issues connected to Type 1 diabetes caused prospective employers to reject him, he said.

While interviewing for some jobs, he was also told he was overqualified for some positions.

No matter what the reason, he still wasn’t able to land a job, something he wanted not only for himself, but also to help support his elderly mother.

On informal advice from a friend, he knocked on the door of the Division Vocational Rehabilitation Services at the state unemployment office. There he learned that he was eligible for training at The Culinary School.

“I came here and talked to Brenda (Milford’s program manager), and Chef (Tim Hunter, Chef Instructor) showed me around the first day. I was impressed. I got approved, and here I am,” he said.

Milford’s fourth class at The Culinary School started Aug. 25, and Chik-fil-A, a Georgia-based restaurant, opened here on Sept. 10. Because of his connections with the Food Bank of Delaware, Eric was one of four students hired.

He’s now at school from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., then he heads to the restaurant to work from 4-9 p.m.

“I’m learning their procedures and implementing what I’m learning here. My culinary school comes first. I don’t want to waste the money that’s being spent on me,” he said.

Eric says he enjoys the learning environment provided at The Culinary School.

“This week, I’m the sous chef. I’m second in charge under the chef. I assign jobs, and I have to make sure everything is done the way the chef wants it done,” he explained.

Under the instruction of Food Bank of Delaware Chef Instructor Tim Hunter, the students spend 14 weeks developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to Serve Safe certification and completing a two-week internship, the students will be prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

“Eric has thrown himself into his culinary studies whole-heartedly. He is always eager to volunteer new ideas and try new recipes. He has an admirable work ethic and will stop at nothing to get things done that he feels need to get done. He brings quite the character to our fourth Milford culinary class,” said Chef Hunter

In addition to learning hands-on skills in the Food Bank’s industrial-sized kitchen, the students take field trips to food processing plants and urban food markets.

The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First, students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry and second, these newly-developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in the industry that provide job security and economic sustainability.

Students are referred to the program through the Criminal Justice Council, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other community-based organizations.

For more information, visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/.

 

 

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Volunteers needed at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford Branch

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A volunteer helps out in the Milford kitchen with the After-School Nutrition Program for children

We are in need of volunteers at our Milford Branch to help pack and sort food, prepare meals and assist with administrative duties.

Volunteers are needed on most weekdays from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Occasional weekend and weeknight hours are also available.

“Since one in five children in Delaware live in poverty, when you volunteer at the Food Bank of Delaware you are truly making a local impact,” said Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson. “Volunteers help make bags for our Backpack Program knowing that a child will be able to eat over the weekend. Making a senior meal box means that local senior citizens can breathe a little easier because they have food to eat. It is quite eye opening to realize the prevalence of people in need in our own community.”

Volunteers can sign up as individuals or groups. Volunteering is a great team-building activity for local businesses, nonprofits, school groups, faith-based organizations and others. Helping at the Food Bank is also a perfect opportunity for youngsters to experience the benefits of community service. Children as young as seven years old can help; those ages seven-15 will need an adult chaperone.

Volunteers must wear sneakers or closed-toe, sturdy shoes. Some volunteer jobs require the ability to lift 50-pound boxes, though not all jobs require lifting. A minimum or regular commitment is not required, and volunteers can help according to their own time schedule.

Volunteers may view available opportunities and sign up online by visiting www.fbd.volunteerhub.com. Groups of five or more should call or e-mail Lyndsay Humphreys, Volunteer Coordinator, at (302) 393-2011 or lhumphreys@fbd.org to arrange a volunteer time.

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Food Bank of Delaware receives $29,000 from the Potter Trust at the CenDel Foundation

0921_CenDel_ checkThe Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford branch was the recipient of a generous donation of $29,000 from the Potter Trust from the CenDel Foundation.

The check was presented by Donna D. Stone, Delaware Community Foundation senior vice president for Central Delaware, to Patricia Beebe, Food Bank of Delaware CEO, Chef Instructor Tim Hunter, Culinary Program Training Manager Brenda Palomo and students from the fourth culinary class at the Milford Branch.

“When the Food Bank applied for funding for sending individuals, many of whom may have been incarcerated or on the edges of survival, to their Culinary School training program we thought this was a good fit,” said Kathleen Hawkins, president of CenDel’s Potter Trust grant committee. “The program gives individuals the opportunity to learn a trade and to be able to support themselves,” she said.

The Potter Trust was established by Col. Benjamin Potter, through his will in 1843, when he evidenced great concern for children who were orphaned, for young men that they develop a trade to support themselves, and for families who were on the verge of being sent to the “poorhouse.”

The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry and second, these newly-developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in the industry that provide job security and economic sustainability.

Under the instruction of Food Bank of Delaware Chef Instructor Tim Hunter students spend 14 weeks developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to Serve Safe certification and completing a two-week internship, the training program prepares students for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/.

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Food Bank of Delaware’s Oktoberfest Blue Jean Ball to be held October 11

006We will host our annual signature event, the Blue Jean Ball, on Saturday, October 11 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in its Newark warehouse at 14 Garfield Way in the Delaware Industrial Park.

This year’s theme is Oktoberfest, and Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant will work alongside students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware to prepare the event’s menu. Governor Jack Markell and First Lady Carla Markell will serve as honorary co-chairs for the evening.

Guests can leave their black tie gala attire at home for this annual event. Blue Jean Ball attendees are asked to don their favorite blue jeans. Tickets are just $65/person and include unlimited beer from Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, wines, a German small plate menu, entertainment from Mike Hines and The Look and a mobile auction.

Food stations will be set up throughout the warehouse, and guests can expect to see traditional German fare. Iron Hill’s team of chefs will assist students from The Culinary School with kitchen prep and cooking, organizing food stations and executing plate presentation on the night of the event.

“Partnering with Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant is a real treat, not only for our culinary students who get to work alongside their chefs, but for our event attendees who have the opportunity to enjoy both their brews and fine seasonal foods,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We are looking forward to another fun evening of raising money to help alleviate hunger in Delaware.”

The Blue Jean Ball is held each year to raise awareness of the acute problem of hunger in Delaware and the important role the food bank plays in combating hunger, as well as its root cause – poverty.

Live entertainment will be provided by dance party band, Mike Hines and The Look. Guests will also have an opportunity to bid on a wide selection of items straight from their own cell phones or tablets through the mobile auction.

By utilizing the warehouse space and the culinary skills of students and its staff of chefs, the food bank is able to significantly reduce costs. Last year, close to 90 percent of event proceeds went directly back to the organization’s hunger-relief efforts.

Tickets are available for $65/person and may be purchased by calling (302) 444-8074 or by visiting www.fbdbluejeanball.org.

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