Food Donor Spotlight: Vanguard

By Caitlin Custer, Donor Outreach Coordinator

On July 14, Vanguard held its 18th annual All Cans on Deck food drive in Malvern, Pennsylvania. This is the second year I have had the pleasure of attending, and it did not disappoint! This is a nationwide food drive among Vanguard offices that exemplifies their core values of Crew, Clients and Community. The drive benefits multiple organizations including local food banks, crisis centers and meal programs. Worldwide, Vanguard raised 414 tons of food, or around 828,000 pounds!

Food drives like Vanguard’s come at a crucial time during the summer when donations are down and pantry shelves are beginning to become bare, and while the bulk of our food drives are held during the fall and winter months, we desperately need donations throughout the spring and summer as well.

Each year employees take part in different events and food drive activities to raise the donations needed to give out to their community. This year crew members, as they are called, created can structures from their items (much like our DelawareCAN competition coming up in September) and building captains created a mini-golf course out of cans. There were also karaoke and free- throw contests to engage crew members and create involvement around the issue of hunger in the Delaware Valley. The management team also sponsored barbecue lunches, and there were dunk tanks set up with managers offering themselves up to be dunked for donations, which were used to purchase items for each organization.

Vanguard stepped in this year and offered to provide items specifically for our Backpack program along with their donation of canned goods. The Backpack Program offers students across the state that rely on the federal school lunch program for meals during the school week, the ability to take a kit home which provides four meals and two snacks to keep them fed over the weekend. Some of the other items, like cases of canned green beans, peas and corn will be used in our Thanksgiving for All holiday meal boxes.

Vanguard’s total donation this year brought in a whopping 43,893 pounds for the Food Bank of Delaware! We needed three trucks to bring all of the donations back! Luckily, Angel (Fleet and Routing Coordinator), Brian (Lead Warehouse Associate) and Bryan (Driver) were each available to drive a truck up that morning, but we still had to go back for one more round. We were fortunate again this year that Vanguard crew members were able to come to the Food Bank the next morning to volunteer and sort through some of their donations so we can get it out as quickly as possible.

Congratulations to Vanguard for beating their record from last year; we appreciate all of the pounds and hours donated!

If you would like to hold a food drive, please contact me at ccuster@fbd.org!

Check out some more pictures from All Cans on Deck!

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Culinary Student Spotlight: Dave Coverdale

Dave CoverdaleBy Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware come from all walks of life. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Coverdale, who is enrolled at The Culinary School in Newark.

Dave, born and raised in Bear, DE, has always enjoyed cooking. He has experience in the banking industry and decided to go back to school for the culinary arts. Dave did some research and found information about the school and proceeded to enroll.

Dave has gained a great deal of knowledge in his short time here at The Culinary School. From kitchen terminology and kitchen etiquette, to knife skills and how to use professional cooking equipment, our culinary students are taught it all. Some of his favorite dishes he has learned to prepare are mirepoix, clarified butter, roasted garlic, roux and soups, as well as stocks.

Dave is currently excelling in both the kitchen and classroom. Wanting to gain experience beyond the walls of the Food Bank volunteered his time to help grill burgers and hot dogs at Woodside Farm Creamery’s annual National Ice Cream Day celebration and is doing a variety of culinary tasks  at the Our Lady of Fatima festival.

Dave’s training is not limited to culinary techniques and knife skills; he is also learning life skills, like working with different types of people, which are needed to excel not only in the kitchen, but in his day-to-day life.

Dave says that The Culinary School has impacted his life in “a very positive way, inside and outside of the class.”

Ready for a career in the food service industry? The next class in Newark begins September 22 (Milford class begins August 18). To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here.

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Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day at the Delaware State Fair

By Kim Turner, Communications Director

On Monday Food Bank of Delaware staff members headed to the Delaware State Fair for the third annual Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day! It’s one of my favorite days of the year at the Food Bank. Attendees who brought five Food Lion store brand cans received one free gate admission! As fairgoers filtered in from the parking lots, so many hands were filled with plastic bags loaded with canned goods!

One-by-one, volunteers from Food Lion and the Food Bank of Delaware, emptied bags of canned goods into large tote-sized boxes. By 11:00 a.m. we had already collected close to 2,000 pounds of food! The response from our community was truly amazing. We are happy to report that in just one day we collected 21,865 pounds – 933 pounds more than last year!

In addition to greeting fairgoers, we also had an opportunity to enjoy all that the fair has to offer! New this year, three Food Bank of Delaware staff members presented healthy cooking demonstrations throughout the day!

First up was Alina Wade, our Community Nutrition Educator. As Alina wired her lavalier microphone and organized her ingredients, a small crowd started to gather around the demonstration kitchen. At 11 a.m. it was show time! Alina demonstrated how easy it is to make healthy oatmeal blueberry pancakes. She combined bananas, oatmeal, egg whites, honey, cinnamon and blueberries in the blender. Once everything was blended, it was time to pour the batter out on the griddle. A few minutes later the pancakes were ready! The healthy pancakes received rave reviews from attendees!

While we waited for Tim Hunter, our Chef Instructor at The Culinary School at the Milford Branch, to demonstrate how to make a cool cucumber mango soup, we enjoyed a Kimo’s snow cone, Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson’s interview with television station WMDT 47 and more can collecting!

The clock hit 1:00 p.m. and we were ready for Chef Tim’s cooking demonstration. Tim peeled and cut fresh mangos, red onions and cucumbers. Showing off his skills, Chef Tim amazed the audience with his knife skills! After everything was chopped he used an immersion blender to incorporate all of the ingredients. Tim showed how easy it is to make healthy, homemade soups. In no time, the cucumber mango soup was ready for sampling!

While we waited for Community Nutrition Educator Asia Thurston’s 3:00 p.m. demonstration, how to make a “Delaware Summer Salad,” we dined at the Delaware Farm Bureau stand, had another snow cone :) and collected more cans! As the afternoon progressed, more attendees began to filter in with donations!

When 3:00 p.m. rolled around, we were ready for Asia’s demonstration. She made a beautful Delaware Summer Salad consisting of fresh, local kale, spinach, strawberries, clementine oranges, almonds, goat cheese, chicken and a homemade strawberry vinaigrette. Asia showed audience members how easy it is to eat fresh, healthy foods! In addition, she stressed that we should be eating the colors of the rainbow. She clarified that by rainbow she did not mean skittles! Eating healthy foods of all different colors enables our bodies to get the needed nutrients.

After Asia’s demonstration it was almost time to leave the fair. Before we left, Food Bank of Delaware Operations Director Trevor Turner, tried his luck at the fish bowl game. After throwing almost 20 ping-pong balls, Trevor landed one in a small fish bowl! He won a gold fish and named him Franklin Turner.

We had a great day at the State Fair; in addition to collecting much-needed food for residents of Kent and Sussex Counties, we also showed fairgoers that we do more than just collect food, we also empower Delawareans by providing important educational opportunities about healthy eating on a limited budget and workforce development through the culinary arts.

Check out some more pictures from our day at the Delaware State Fair!

 

 

 

 

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A visit to our nation’s capital to advocate for the Summer Food Service Program

By Charlotte McGarry, Programs Director

Wow! What an amazing day! Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to speak before Senate staff at a briefing to educate lawmakers about the Summer Food Service Program. This educational opportunity was important as lawmakers begin to discuss the Summer Meals Act of 2014. As I departed the Wilmington train station en route to our nation’s capital, I was feeling excited, but extremely nervous. This was my first time speaking to national leaders about a program that helps so many children in our country during the summer months.

Feeding America and Share Our Strength invited the Food Bank of Delaware to speak given our long history and success with the program. Since 2002, we, along with our partners and volunteers, have provided millions of meals to children at risk of hunger in our state.

During my 10-minute talk I spoke about the need, challenges and successes of the program from the perspective of a sponsor. As a sponsor,  we are responsible for locating and recruiting meal sites, hiring, training and supervising staff and volunteers, arranging meal preparation and delivery, monitoring sites, and preparing claims for meal cost reimbursement from USDA.

Yesterday’s presentation was intended to show members of Congress that it’s time to make adjustments to Summer Food Service Program processes developed in the 60s and 70s.  As we all know, families’ needs and dynamics have significantly changed since then. It’s time to change the processes in which we serve children summer meals.

In Delaware only 20 percent of children who receive free or reduced-price meals at school participate in the Summer Food Service Program. Participation is not only low in Delaware, but on a national level. Lack of transportation and general awareness are two major barriers that hinder participation.

In order to reach more children, USDA has funded several demonstration grants to try alternative ways to provide meals. The Food Bank of Delaware, along with the Delaware Department of Education successfully managed one of these projects.

The Grab and Go alternative service method was so successful that we were able receive three years of generous funding from Our Family Foundation.  During this second year of private funding and fourth year of the program our staff is faced with the sad truth that the need for this style of meal service outweighs the funds.

We urge Congress to support their constituents by instituting the changes necessary for children throughout our nation to have the opportunity to participate in Grab and Go and other innovative meal delivery programs.

To learn more about the Summer Meals Act of 2014, please click here.

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Monday is Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day at the Delaware State Fair

State FairThe third annual “Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day” will take place on Monday, July 21 at the Delaware State Fair!

Fair attendees who bring five Food Lion brand canned goods will in exchange receive one free gate admittance to the Delaware State Fair from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Monday, July 21. The community effort is part of the third annual “Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day” at the Delaware State Fair.

“At Food Lion, we believe no one should have to choose between dinner and paying rent or gasoline and buying groceries,” said Bob Mills, Food Lion director of execution and implementation for the Dover, Del. area. “That’s why we’re so passionate about our renewed focus on ending hunger and working to make the lines shorter at local feeding agencies through Food Lion Feeds. Last year’s hunger relief day helped to provide approximately 17,000 meals for hungry families in Kent and Sussex Counties, and we hope to exceed that donation this year with the help of our customers.”

Donations received through this year’s effort will assist families in Kent and Sussex Counties struggling to put food on the table.

“We are thrilled to continue this partnership with Food Lion and the Delaware State Fair,” said Food Bank of Delaware Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson. “It was incredible to see the excitement from our community for this annual food drive. Over the past two years we have collected more than 42,000 meals. We hope to exceed last year’s total!”

“Our goal this year is to pass last year’s amazing number and hopefully bring in more than 27,000 meals. This is such an amazing project to be a part of and we thank Food Lion for making this food drive possible through its partnership with the Delaware State Fair,” said Assistant General Manager and Director of Marketing Danny Aguilar

Volunteers from Food Lion and the Food Bank of Delaware will accept donations at all gates. No items stored in glass will be accepted. Some of the Food Bank of Delaware’s most-needed items include the following:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Canned soups
  • Tuna fish
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned meats
  • Cereal

For more information about the Delaware State Fair, please visit www.delawarestatefair.com.

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Grab and Go Spotlight: Sparrow Run

By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Hunger in our community is prevalent, especially during the summer months when school is not in session. For thousands of Delaware kids, meals served at school are sometimes their only source of nutritious food. Now that the school year is over, so are these meals. Fortunately, Giant Food has sponsored our Grab and Go summer meal program that allows children to pick up their meals and take them home to enjoy.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit Sparrow Run, a neighborhood in Bear. Child Inc. runs the Sparrow Run Grab and Go program and provides services to at-risk children and their families.

CHILD Inc. Program Manager Victoria Schetrom organizes the meal program at Sparrow Run. She says she is known as the “lunch lady” of the neighborhood!

One-hundred-eighty-four kids pick up breakfast and lunch each weekday between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The kids love the Grab and Go format because they are able to eat their lunch at home versus sitting at the community center’s outdoor picnic table. (As you can imagine, some days are just simply too hot for an outside meal!)

When we visited Sparrow Run both kids and their parents were lined up to pick up their meals. A reusable insulated bag was provided by the Food Bank at the beginning of the program, and each day, kids return with their bag to receive their next round of meals. Coolers line Child Inc.’s driveway and a dedicated youth volunteer and a Child Inc. employee distribute the meals, a breakfast and lunch for each participant.

Just by looking at the faces of the kids, I could tell they love picking up their Grab and Go meals. In addition to distributing meals, Child Inc. also provides a great environment for families of Sparrow Run and surrounding communities on Route 40 in Bear.

Thank you, Giant, for making the Grab and Go meal program possible!

To learn how we are serving the needs of children this summer, please visit http://www.fbd.org/program/children%e2%80%99s-nutrition-program/sfsp/

 

 

 

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Culinary Student Spotlight: Sean Shaver

071414_TCS at Verdi photo (2)For Sean Shaver, a Food Bank of Delaware Culinary School student, an internship at Verde –The Italian Cooking School in Milford, is a match made in heaven.

Nancy Chirdon Forster, Verde’s founder and owner, agrees.

A restaurateur and caterer, Nancy says she supports the mission of the Food Bank of Delaware.

“I believe in its value to the community, and it’s well run,” she said.

When The Culinary School opened at the Milford site in September, Nancy knew she would want to partner by providing internship opportunities.

While Verde is a cooking school, it’s not a training institution like The Culinary School; Verde offers cooking lessons, catering and private dinners, luncheons and classes.

“We participate in the Lewes Farmers’ Market, and we want to be part of Milford’s,” said Nancy, adding that as a one-woman business it was impossible to be at both markets at the same time each Saturday morning.

Enter Sean, who was busy making cookie dough for the next Saturday’s market.

“He’s developing an interest in everything. He’s caught that food bug,” said Nancy.

Because this is a small business, Sean is learning by doing. For example, on his first day Sean helped prepare a luncheon for 22 guests, a full house in the space Verde occupies on South West Front Street.

“I’m so happy to have Sean. I just tell him to yell if he’s drowning,” Nancy said, noting that his help will open up more options for her business and for other students as well.

A Milford resident, Sean is equally enthusiastic about the internship. A retail manager for 12 years, he welcomes the career change that combines his love for cooking with an opportunity to learn and grow.

Even as a youngster, Sean remembers watching public television cooking shows.

“Justin Wilson (Cajun chef on PBS) sucked me in, not just the cooking but the stories, and Miss Nancy (Verde’s owner) has stories,” he said.

Sean learned about The Culinary School from a flyer and felt “the timing was right.”

“I’m learning as I go. Chef Tim (Hunter, Chef Instructor) and Brenda (Palomo, Culinary Training Program Manager) have you prepared to jump into the fire. The whole staff, the curriculum, everything is excellent,” he said.

Chef Tim and Brenda also praised the way Sean has embraced the opportunity to move into a career in food service.

“Sean has a unique combination of culinary skill and a positive attitude that is extremely hard to find. I know he will continue to grow in the culinary field as he learns more, but you cannot teach anyone how to remain positive under pressure. You cannot teach how to have a sense of urgency, and Sean has that,” Brenda said.

Chef Tim said the internship at Verde seems like a great match.

“Sean is one of those guys who has the potential to be a good leader if he has the right guidance. It’s good to start out small. He’ll eventually get confidence to take on responsibilities,” he said.

Sean plans to stay on at Verde after he graduates on Aug. 5.

“I’m here, and I’m going to do what I can to help Miss Nancy grow her business,” he said.

The Culinary School program lasts a total of 14 weeks, 12 of which are spent on site at the food bank learning the basics, including but not limited to meat fabrication, cooking techniques, and soups and sauces, and studying for the ServSafe exam, as well as brushing up on Life Skills curriculum.

The next class in Milford begins on Aug. 18.

Learn more by visiting http://ow.ly/z94Uo

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