Monthly Archives: March 2012

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Delaware’s Hungry

As backyard vegetable gardeners and farmers begin to prepare for the spring planting season, the Food Bank of Delaware encourages individuals to consider planting a few extra seeds for hungry Delawareans.

With one in four Delawareans depending on our network of hunger-relief partners, the need for getting fresh produce into the community is needed now more than ever, especially as low-income Delawareans struggle with obesity issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 37.2 percent of Delaware adults making between $15,000-24,999 per year were considered obese (BMI 30.0-99.8) compared to only 25.6 percent of adults making more than $50,000.

“A new Gallup Poll indicates that Delaware has the second highest state obesity rate in the nation,” said Food Bank of Delaware Community Nutritionist Beverly Jackey. “Good nutrition is important for all income levels, but, unfortunately, to stretch food dollars, disadvantaged shoppers typically choose foods that are inexpensive, high in calories and lacking nutritional value. Produce donations to the food bank are critical in ensuring that low-income adults and children receive proper nutrition.”

Last year more than one million pounds of produce were donated to the food bank. This year the food bank hopes to exceed that amount. Produce donations that are most-needed include:

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers
  • Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Cantaloupe
  • Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Carrots

Individuals and farmers interested in donating surplus produce to the Food Bank of Delaware may contact Jim Weir, Operations Director, by emailing jweir@fbd.org or calling (302) 444-8073. For more information about fresh produce donations, please visit http://www.fbd.org/plant-a-row-for-the-hungry/.

 

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Local egg donor donates 129,600 eggs to Food Bank of Delaware

Despite signs of economic recovery, record numbers of families in Delaware and across America are currently relying on food assistance.  In fact, one in eight Americans will receive help in 2012 from food banks.  And among the most needed items are sources of high quality protein.

A local egg farmer, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated more than 129,000 eggs to the Food Bank of Delaware yesterday morning to help families struggling with food insecurity.

This donation is part of a national effort, organized by the United Egg Producers and Feeding America.  For the fifth consecutive spring, America’s egg farmers are giving the Easter Bunny and families in need, a helping hand by donating nearly 10 million fresh eggs.  That brings the number of eggs farmers have contributed since 2008 to 60 million — equaling nearly 5 million dozen.

“We are very grateful for the donation of eggs, a much-needed nutritious food item,” said our President and CEO Patricia Beebe.  “Eggs are one of our core items and prized by pantries and the people we serve.  We’re especially thankful with the increasing need among our community.”

 For food banks across America, high quality sources of protein, such as eggs, are especially needed and valued.  According to the USDA, one large egg delivers six grams of protein, along with 13 essential nutrients, including choline, folate, iron and zinc.  After a review of the nutrient composition of standard large eggs last year, USDA concluded that the average amount of cholesterol was 14 percent lower, and vitamin D content was 64 percent higher, than previously measured.

“If you’ve ever met an egg farmer, you know just how incredibly generous and giving these men and women are,” said Gene Gregory, president of United Egg Producers.  “All year long, but especially at Easter, they proudly do what they can to support the communities in which they live and work.”

Thank you United Egg Distributors!!

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New Nutrition Policy for Food Bank Donations

 

By Beverly Jackey RD, Community Nutritionist

The Food Bank of Delaware is committed to meeting the nutritional needs of the food insecure in Delaware by establishing nutrition standards for donated food.  Clients utilizing the services of food banks across the country are often unable to access or afford the variety and quantity of foods necessary for a healthful diet. The Food Bank of Delaware and its Hunger-Relief Partners can play a significant role in increasing access to these nutritious foods; however, we need the support of donors to accomplish this. Starting this week we will no longer accept soda and candy items as donations as listed below:                                                                       

  • All sodas in bottles or cans
  • Hardy candy and lollipops
  • Gum
  • Chocolate bars or pieces (not including meal replacement, diet supplement or sport bars)
  • Soft candy- marshmallows, caramels, taffy, licorice, gummy items 

Why the change?  The results of  our recent Foods in Demand survey sent to our Hunger-Relief Partners ranked soda and candy as the “lowest in need” of sixteen items on the survey.  Secondly, more than two thirds of adults and one third of children in Delaware are overweight or obese. There is strong evidence that those affected by food insecurity are the highest at risk for obesity and other diet-related illnesses. Consumption of foods and beverages with significant added sugars and fats may play a role in this epidemic. These foods are often consumed because they cost less than fruits, vegetables and whole grains that contain high quality nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. Lastly, the Food Bank recognizes that all food and beverages have a place in a well-balanced diet, however, there is no indication our clients lack access to soda and candy. These items are readily available in the large grocery stores and the numerous corner markets in all neighborhoods.  

As we celebrate National Nutrition Month across the country, please support our efforts in joining the growing trend of other food banks that are committed to providing access to healthy food options to all Americans regardless of income.

When planning you next food drive, please visit our website at www.fbd.org for a list of foods we encourage for donations.

For questions, contact Beverly Jackey RD Community Nutritionist at (302) 444-8125 or bjackey@fbd.org.

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Procter & Gamble Dover Wipes donates $20,000 to Backpack Program

Representatives from Procter & Gamble Dover Wipes presented us with a gift for $20,000 this morning to help fund our much-needed Backpack Program!

The funding will allow us to provide weekend and holiday food for 101 children within a 30 mile radius of the Dover Procter & Gamble plant.

The Backpack Program provides food to at-need children for weekends and holidays when school is not in session and federal school meal programs are not available. Backpacks are stocked with kid-friendly, nutritious food including shelf-stable milk and juice, peanut butter and jelly, granola bars, apple sauce, cereal and more. They are distributed on Fridays or the last day before a holiday or vacation in a discreet manner.

“Procter & Gamble’s purpose is touching lives, improving life,” said Procter and Gamble Plant Manager Julie Hansen. “The Food Bank of Delaware does this every day.  Dover Wipes Plant is proud that we can support our community through this donation to their Backpack Program.”

“Despite these tough economic times, businesses and individuals from up and down the state continue to provide much-needed resources to Delawareans struggling to put meals on the table,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Compared to last school year we have already increased the number of backpacks distributed to children in Kent County by 53 percent. We are so thankful for Procter and Gamble’s support in helping to meet the nutritional needs of our most-vulnerable children.”

The cost to sponsor a child with a backpack for a full school year is $198. To learn more about sponsorship, please contact Larry Haas, Development Director, at (302) 294-0185 or lhaas@fbd.org. Sites interested in distributing backpacks may contact Stacy Stevens, Children’s Nutrition Coordinator, at (302) 444-8128

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The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware celebrates completion of 29th class

A graduation ceremony was held this morning at our Newark facility to celebrate the accomplishments of eleven students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware. We’re proud to announce that nine out of the 11 students have already landed employment!

This session’s graduates include:

  • Larry Bass
  • Ronnisha Bradley
  • Ian Dutton
  • Mark Grayson
  • Michelle Henderson
  • Tania Jackson
  • Brian Knapp
  • Stephanie Pierce
  • Gregnesha Rhodes
  • Andre Stevenson
  • Chris Tingle

Under the instruction of our Chef Instructor, Mark Saunders, students have spent the past 14 weeks developing their skills in the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to braising and food safety skills, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the culinary arts. A significant portion of their training included preparation of several large catering jobs for the our new catering business, Culinary Catering: Catering for a Cause, and a two-week internship at a local food service company. In addition to culinary skills, the students also spent time developing skills in conflict resolution, anger management, interviewing, resume writing and more.

Four graduates were among the first to complete the program as part of a new partnership with the Criminal Justice Council. Last November the Food Bank of Delaware was awarded a three-year grant from the Criminal Justice Council, totaling $205,470 to train 42 students.

Keynote speaker Judge Charles Toliver encouraged students to try new things and always ask for help, “there is nothing wrong with asking for a hand; as long as you are trying someone will always help you.”

“I liked the life skills as they taught me the value of hard work, ethics and how to work as a team member,” said graduate Andre Stevenson. “Most of all, I enjoyed the student cooking competition, opening our bistro to the public for lunch and being part of the new culinary catering business. All of this training helped me land a fulltime career at Hersha Hospitality’s new Sheraton Hotel on Airport Road in New Castle as a banquet server and a prep cook.”

Following the graduation ceremony, students showed off their newly-developed skills and prepared lunch for all. Guests enjoyed stuffed tilapia, curried chicken and jasmine rice, scalloped potatoes, assorted desserts and more. 

Special awardees include:

  • Perfect attendance: Larry Bass, Michelle Henderson, Ian Dutton
  • Highest GPA: Ronnisha Bradley
  • Best Attitude: Larry Bass
  • Bank of America Most Improved: Chris Tingle
  • JPMorgan Chase Most Dedicated: Brian Knapp

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. 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Willis

By Trevor Turner, Volunteer Coordinator

Chris Willis serves as a “lead” volunteer at the Food Bank of Delaware.  As a lead volunteer, Chris assists the Volunteer Coordinators manage the day-to-day operations of the volunteer room in the Food Bank’s Newark warehouse. While other high school students are spending their afternoons in front of the TV or computer, Chris spends each afternoon at the Food Bank helping to alleviate hunger for the one in four Delawareans who depend on emergency food assistance. Chris volunteers at the Food Bank Monday through Friday.

Chris started volunteering at the Food Bank of Delaware during the summer of 2011. Chris was a vital asset to the Food Bank of Delaware team who provided 405,607 meals to underprivileged children across the state of Delaware through the Summer Nutrition Program.  During the past year Chris has donated 656 hours of service.  While volunteering, Chris has assisted in the management of thousands of volunteers. 

Chris oversees the packing of food boxes for our CSFP program (Commodity Supplemental Food Program).  CSFP is a monthly program that provides staple food items to more than 2,300 low-income senior citizens over the age of 60. Chris makes sure volunteers know what items and how many of each goes into each box.  He also oversees the packing of more than 2,900 food packs for our children’s Backpack Program.  The Backpack Program provides nutritious food to children at risk of hunger on weekends and holidays when school is not in session.  The success of these programs is all thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers like Chris.   

Chris’ contribution to the organization is far reaching. He plays a vital role in utilizing our volunteers’ time and talent to help feed Delawareans of all ages. In addition to the Backpack and Senior Nutrition Program, Chris also trains volunteers to pack meals for children in after school programs. Thanks to volunteers, we distributed 314,793 meals through our After-School Nutrition Program last year.

Dependable, passionate and a team player accurately describe Chris.  The quality of Chris’s work is impeccable, especially when considering his young age.  His passion for helping hungry Delawareans is shown every day when he greets our volunteers, leads the welcoming procedures for our afternoon shifts of volunteers, typically 20-50 people.  Chris completes his assigned tasks and his attention to detail is phenomenal. Chris is an innovative young leader. Thanks to Chris’ commitment and diligence, Delawareans struggling to put meals on the table are better fed. Without outstanding volunteers like Chris, the Food Bank of Delaware would not be able to distribute 7.7 million pounds of food as it did last year. Chris Willis is an outstanding volunteer and a remarkable role model for not only his peers, but our community as a whole.

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It’s National School Breakfast Week

By Dr. Nancy Cotugna, DrPH, RD
Professor, University of Delaware & Food Bank of Delaware Board Member

This week is National School Breakfast Week.  School breakfast provides students with a balanced, healthy meal giving them a quarter of their requirements for protein, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. We all know that a good breakfast jumpstarts the day, helps boost test scores and improves student behavior.

While all public schools in Delaware offer breakfast, only a handful provide breakfast in the classroom. The Food Bank of Delaware’s Anti-Hunger Coalition is working with schools, teachers and administrators to increase the number of children who eat breakfast by encouraging the schools to offer breakfast that can be eaten in the classroom. Serving breakfast in the classroom increases participation by making it convenient and eliminating barriers such as late bus arrivals. Breakfast in the classroom improves student learning, test scores, behavior, and decreases tardiness, lack of attentiveness and visits to the school nurse, and can be a timesaver for busy parents. Breakfast sets student up for a day of learning and activity.

The Food Bank of Delaware has spent time observing several successful classroom school breakfast programs throughout the state. We’ve begun dialogue with school officials to effectively implement these best practices in more schools throughout the First State. To learn more about breakfast in the classroom, please visit www.breakfastintheclassroom.org.

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March is National Nutrition Month

By Jackie Hennemuth RD, Community Nutritionist

National Nutrition Month is held annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in an effort to focus on the importance of making informed choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.  This year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape” and focuses on USDA’s new Choose MyPlate icon.  MyPlate has replaced MyPyramid as the go-to nutritional guide for Americans.  MyPlate illustrates the five foods groups needed for a healthy diet: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein.  

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to start thinking about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl.  Use these tips to shape up your plate!                    

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

  • Eat a variety of different color vegetables – the brighter the color the more nutrients it has!
  • Fresh, frozen and canned all count
  • Select “reduced-sodium” or   “no-salt-added” veggie options.
  • Choose fresh, 100% juice dried, frozen or canned in water fruits to add to a meal or as a snack. 

Make at least half your grains whole grains

  • Check the ingredients list for 100% whole-grains in breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and rice. 

Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk

  • These options have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients without all the fat and calories of whole milk. 

Vary your protein choices

  • Select lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish.  Eggs are also a great source of protein!
  • Opt for more plant-based protein options such beans, nuts and seeds. 

It is also important to watch your portion sizes!  You want to enjoy your food, but try to eat less.  A good way to avoid overeating is to use smaller plates, bowls and glasses. Try eating at home more often – that way you can control how much is on your plate and also what’s in your food!  It is easier to limit the amount of salt, sugar and fat that you consume if you or a family member is the one preparing the meal.  National Nutrition Month also encourages us to be more physically active.  Start by doing activities that you enjoy like going for a walk, riding bikes, or swimming.  Children and teens need 60 minutes or more a day.  Adults should aim for 2.5 hours or more a week.

National Nutrition Month is all about getting– and keeping your plate in shape –  by being active and selecting more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains you can do just that!  For more healthy eating tips visit:

www.eatright.org

www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

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