Category Archives: Advocate

School Breakfast Spotlight: Wilbur Elementary

This morning several of our staff members joined State Senator Nicole Poore and representatives from the Colonial School District to see firsthand their successful school breakfast program at Wilbur Elementary.

As students filtered off the busses, they headed straight to the cafeteria to grab a healthy breakfast. Students were greeted by smiling teachers, cafeteria personnel, Colonial School District Superintendent Dr. Dusty Blakey, Principal Beth Howell and others. As students lined up in the cafeteria, they chose from a variety of breakfast options - milk and juice, yogurt, bagels, fruit, cereal, banana bread and more! Kindergarten classrooms receive their breakfast in a basket. A student helper stops by the cafeteria and delivers the basket to the classroom.

Since all Wilbur students receive free breakfast and lunch meals as a result of the Community Eligibility Provision, no cash transactions took place; cafeteria workers simply tallied the number of meals served with a clicker. Plastic bags were available for students to carry their nutritious breakfasts back for consumption in the classroom.

The team at Wilbur Elementary showed us how easy implementation of an alternative breakfast model is with a dedicated team of teachers, cafeteria personnel, custodial staff and administrators! Kids were in and out of the cafeteria in no time.

Back in the classroom, while kids ate breakfast, teachers engaged students in instructional time. Kindergarten students ate quietly as they sat around a table, first graders ate breakfast while singing a song to help with a lesson and fourth graders began working on the day’s assignments as they enjoyed milk, cereal, fruit and bagels. Breakfast did not impede on the day’s plans, and all students started the day with a full belly ready to tackle the day’s assignments.

To help with cleanup, each classroom has a trash can for disposal. After breakfast, custodial staff travel the hallways to pick up the bags. Each can is replaced with a new bag, and the can becomes the classroom recycling bin. The staff at Wilbur showed that breakfast can be as easy as 1-2-3!

Colonial School Nutrition Supervisor Paula Angelucci says feeding kids is a priority in the Colonial School District. “It’s all about the kids,” she says. Paula credits the success of the breakfast program to a team of dedicated administrators. In order for breakfast to work, administrative buy-in is crucial, she explains.

To help increase statewide participation, we announced our first-ever School Breakfast Challenge last spring. The challenge is an opportunity for schools making major gains in breakfast participation to win cash awards for their performance.

Thanks to a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Education, ten awards ranging from $3,000 to $500 will be made available to eight district schools and two charter or nonpublic schools. The cash grants will be awarded to the school with the highest breakfast participation in October 2014 and the most-improved breakfast participation from October 2013 to October 2014. Winners will be announced in early 2015.

To learn more about the School Breakfast Challenge, click here.

Is your school a school breakfast superstar? Let us know! We’d love to visit!

Check out more pictures from this morning’s visit!

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocate, Children's Nutrition

Starting the day off with school breakfast

Desk%20BreakfastBy Ashley Michini, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

School’s back in session and the Food Bank of Delaware has a fun School Breakfast Quiz to help you learn some things you may not know about the USDA’s School Breakfast program.

True or False: School Breakfast through the USDA National School Lunch Program is intended only for children from low-income families

FALSE! School breakfast is for everyone! All students can benefit from a healthy start to their day. Delaware’s children need full stomachs in order to succeed. School breakfast programs greatly benefit students from all backgrounds and provide students the ability to start their days off right.

True or False: The best way to support your school district’s School Breakfast program is to make sure children participate in it

TRUE! It’s as easy as that, increased participation strengthens school breakfast programs. It provides increased funding to schools through reimbursements and keeps students satisfied, so they can focus on learning instead of longing for lunch.

Parents—encourage your children to eat breakfast at school. Teachers and School Personnel—Lead by example, and participate in School Breakfast yourself. Show students that eating a nutrient-rich breakfast at school is not only good for you, but a fun program that their school provides.

True or False: Breakfast improves students’ behavior in the classroom

TRUE! Not only does breakfast aid students’ physical health, it also provides behavioral wellness that makes for a more pleasant and productive classroom setting. The Share our Strength organization’s 2013 Teachers Report found that 88 percent of teachers agree that hungry kids cannot concentrate, 82 percent of teachers noted that students who don’t start their days with breakfast lack energy, and over two-thirds of teachers recognized that children who are hungry cause discipline problems in the classroom. School Breakfast is the answer—it widely increases students’ ability to concentrate and lowers the risk of emotional/behavioral complications in youth.

True or False: Eating breakfast at home is better than eating School Breakfast

FALSE! Expert nutritionists that work with the federal government have designed the School Breakfast served through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program so that it is a perfectly balanced, nutritious meal to encourage healthy physical development for students. Research compiled by the Food Research and Action Center shows that participation in the School Breakfast Program decreases obesity and high Body Mass Indices in adolescents, and at the same time, boosts kids’ daily nutrient intake.

Classroom%20Breakfast_0True or False: The only place students eat school breakfast is in the cafeteria.

FALSE! Many schools have found that it’s easier to get children to eat breakfast when they have more options than just traditional served meals in the cafeteria.

Picture the fast-paced start of the school day, kids getting off the bus and making their way through the crowded hallways to chat with friends before class, at the same time, teachers on duty do their best to make sure the students arrive to class before the bell. Blaring loudspeakers broadcast announcements of late busses, parents try to make their way to the main office to take care of looming administrative paperwork. With all of this movement, it’s often a challenge for students to have enough time to go through the cafeteria line, receive their breakfast, find a seat in the cafeteria and eat it before first period. This is where Alternative School Breakfast models come in. Here are three proven models that adapt to the start of the school day:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom
    • Breakfast in the Classroom skips students’ trek to the cafeteria all-together. Instead they head directly to their classes, and breakfasts are delivered directly to them. Having all students eat together with their peers greatly reduces the stigma associated with School Breakfast and makes it accessible to all children. Contrary to the belief that Breakfast in the Classroom actually provides more time for teachers’ lessons, since their pupils go directly to class and don’t dawdle in the halls. In Delaware, Seaford Middle School saw a 481 percent increase in participation in school breakfast by using Breakfast in the Classroom! An additional 600 children served each day.
  • Second Chance
    • Sometimes students aren’t hungry when they arrive at school in the early morning. The Second Chance program gives an option of either having traditional breakfast in the morning, or taking an on-the-go breakfast to eat between first and second period or during a designated nutrition break.
  • Grab and Go Breakfast
    • The Grab and Go format allows students to choose the breakfast items they like best from either the cafeteria or a food cart stationed in the hallway, and then bring it to their class to consume during the morning announcements.

Want to do more to help students achieve? Get your school to participate in the Food Bank of Delaware’s first-ever School Breakfast Challenge- an exciting opportunity for schools making major gains in breakfast participation to win cash awards for their performance!

To help increase participation in the school breakfast program, we issued a challenge last spring at our second annual Ending Hunger Conference. Thanks to a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Education, ten awards ranging from $3,000 to $500 will be made available to eight district schools and two charter or nonpublic schools. Cash grants will be awarded to the school with the highest breakfast participation in October 2014 and the most-improved breakfast participation from October 2013 to October 2014. More information can be found here http://www.fbd.org/school-breakfast-challenge/.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocate, Children's Nutrition

Food For Thought, a conversation with the candidates

Just in time for the September primary, the Food Bank of Delaware will host Food for Thought, a conversation with candidates running for state legislature, on Thursday, August 21 at its Newark facility and Wednesday, September 3 at its Milford facility.

“Sponsoring this policy discussion is very important for the health and food security of all Delawareans,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We take very seriously the role of educating our elected officials and candidates for political office and providing an opportunity for them to process, learn and ask questions regarding hunger and nutrition issues.”

Food for Thought will offer local candidates running for the Delaware State Senate and House the opportunity to voice their stance on issues related to food insecurity, poverty and nutrition. Following brief prepared remarks by the candidates, the floor will be opened to the public for a question and answer session.

Food for Thought aims to educate the community before heading to the polls on September 9 and raises awareness of how legislation affects day-to-day service to hungry people throughout the state and how community members can change the shape of legislation through their political involvement.

When: Thursday, August 21, 2014; 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (Newark)/Wednesday, September 3, 2014; 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (Milford)

Where: Food Bank of Delaware, 14 Garfield Way, Newark  & 1040 Mattlind Way, Milford

Agenda:

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast and networking

8:30 a.m. – 9:10 a.m. – Welcome and remarks from candidates

9:10 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Audience Q&A

Confirmed candidates (Newark event):

  • Jeff Porter (Candidate, State House 12)
  • Paul Baumbach (Incumbent, State House 23)
  • Matt Lenzini (Candidate, State House 15)
  • Steven Newton (Candidate, State House 22)
  • Bryan Townsend (Incumbent, State Senate 11)
  • Lynne Newlin (Candidate, State House 11)
  • John Mackenzie (Candidate, State House 22)
  • Bethany Hall-Long (Incumbent, State Senate 10)
  • James Burton (Candidate, State House 15)

Confirmed candidates (Milford event):

  • Pat Emory (Candidate, State Senate 18 – Primary)
  • Claire Snyder-Hall (Candidate, State Senate 6)
  • Dave Wilson (Incumbent, State House 35)
  • Gary Wolfe (Candidate, State Senate 18 – Primary)
  • Paulette Rappa (Candidate, State House 37)
  • Ruth Briggs King (Incumbent, State House 37)
  • Kevin Robbins (Candidate, State House 33)
  • Ron Gray (Incumbent, State House 38)
  • Pete Kramer (Candidate, State House 29)

To attend Food for Thought, please register by contacting Ashley Michini, Food Bank of Delaware Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, at (302) 292-1305 ext. 206 or amichini@fbd.org. Space is limited. Complementary continental breakfast will be provided.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocate

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocate, Children's Nutrition, Programs

Legislative Day in Dover

DSC_0060compressedBy Dan Reyes, Coalition to End Hunger Coordinator

Every year around the start of summer, those wandering the corridors of Legislative Hall are greeted by a veritable sea of tie-dye—it’s hard to miss the Food Bank of Delaware’s Legislative Day. Staff and supporters travel to Dover to educate elected officials about the hunger crisis in our state and what FBD is doing to help, and in turn, the legislature is kind enough to pass a resolution commending our work.

In years past there has been a conspicuous absence at legislative day—those who rely upon the Food Bank of Delaware and its partners for emergency food assistance. Neighbors struggling with poverty and food insecurity are all too often left out of debates and conversations over the policies that directly impact them. The inclusion of this perspective is critical to ensuring that elected officials are working in the best interest of the constituents that they serve.

This year, when given the floor in the State Senate, our President & CEO Patricia Beebe gave only a few brief remarks, before turning the podium over to Edward Hawkins, a Dover Resident and a client of the Food Bank of Delaware. Edward, a Vietnam-era veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was widowed after the passing of his wife last August. The loss of his wife was not only emotionally taxing, but also impacted his financial stability. The SNAP cuts of 2013 proved devastating, as he described to legislators:

“Prior to those cuts my food stores ran out approximately four days before the next month’s allotment. Now it has increased to two weeks. During that period, I got the chance to experience ‘true hunger’, which caused a weight loss of 20 pounds.”

Edward found relief through FBD’s mobile pantry program, where he filled out a “story card” expressing his interest in advocacy efforts. Not long after he began working with me to prepare for Legislative Day, culminating in his eloquent and impactful remarks on June 3rd. After speaking, Edward shared, “That was tough…it’s hard to get up in front of people I don’t know and feel so exposed. I don’t like feeling pitied…but I know this is important. I hope that by doing this, it will make it possible for other people in my situation to do the same.”

For both FBD and Edward, this is only the beginning. We are in the process of developing a “Witnesses to Hunger” program, an expansion of a project of Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities that seeks to engage caregivers of low-income households in participant-led advocacy efforts. Ensuring our clients can advocate for policies that will allow for greater opportunity and self-reliance is just as important to us as providing emergency food assistance.

Peace, Love, End Hunger.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocate, Events, Face of Hunger, FBD Staff, Hunger

Food Bank of Delaware, Delaware Department of Education release Breakfast First, a statewide school breakfast report

Educators and anti-hunger advocates gathered yesterday afternoon at Highlands Elementary School for the release of the Food Bank of Delaware and Delaware Department of Education’s Breakfast First, a Statewide School Breakfast Report.

The report identifies that only 52.1 percent of Delaware’s children who receive free or reduced-price lunch also participate in school breakfast programs at their school.

In Delaware, children experience food insecurity in more than one in four households. With just more than half of eligible children receiving breakfast at school, tens of thousands of children who could benefit from a healthy start instead reach their school desks with empty stomachs.

“Guided by innovative and compassionate superintendents, principals, teachers, custodians and nutrition staff, schools throughout Delaware are rising to the challenge through a simple, yet effective strategy: moving breakfast into the classroom,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We know that breakfast in the classroom works. Seaford Middle School has increased breakfast participation by 481 percent just by serving breakfast to all in the classroom.”

The Red Clay Consolidated School District has embraced increasing breakfast accessibility by implementing a Grab and Go model where children “grab” their breakfast in the cafeteria and head to class to eat and receive instructional time.

“The reality is some of our children leave school and will not have another meal until they come back the next morning,” said Red Clay Superintendent Mervin Dougherty. “There are too many obstacles for our children today. When our kids don’t have to worry about things we take advantage of, they excel.”

Highlands Elementary Principal Robert Farr shared a story to explain why school nutrition programs are so important, “One day a student was misbehaving. I asked him to come to my office. I sat him and down and asked him, ‘why do you come to school?’ The little boy replied, ‘I come to school to eat. We don’t have any food to eat.’ This reminded me how important it is that our kids have nutritious meals here at school.”

The Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware State Teachers Association support increasing access to school breakfast for children.

“A whole school buy-in leads to success for breakfast,” advised Aimee Beam, Education Associate, School Nutrition Programs for the Delaware Department of Education. “Valid research shows that school meals have a significant impact on student performance. Kids who eat breakfast have higher test scores, decreased visits to the nurse and fewer behavioral issues.”

“Educators may be leery about breakfast in the classroom, but anecdotal evidence shows that it’s virtually mess free and increases instruction time,” said Delaware State Teachers Association President Frederika Jenner. “Breakfast is more than just the most important meal; it’s the gateway to school success.”

The report delves into school and district-level data to highlight success, as well as identifies common barriers and opportunities for improvement. It shares best practices from successful schools, including Wilbur Elementary School in the Colonial School District and Seaford Middle School in the Seaford School District.

Dan Reyes, Coordinator of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Coalition to End Hunger and co-author of the report, encouraged attendees to use the report as an advocacy tool. “Review the report and identify schools where improvement is needed,” he said. “Encourage educators to take the steps needed to make breakfast free and accessible to all children.”

To read the report in its entirety, visit http://www.fbd.org/school-breakfast-challenge/.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocate, Children's Nutrition, Nutrition

Anti-hunger advocates launch year-long School Breakfast Challenge at Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service conference

Two-hundred-fifty anti-hunger advocates gathered at the Christiana Hilton yesterday for the second annual Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service conference. The highlight of the day-long event was the official launch of the School Breakfast Challenge.

Delaware Department of Education Secretary Mark Murphy officially launched the challenge, announcing that a total of $20,000 is available to schools that increase participation in the school breakfast program.

In the 2012-2013 school year, only 52.1 percent of children in Delaware who received free or reduced-price lunch also participated in school breakfast.

“We know for our children to be able to learn well, their minds need to be free from worrying about hunger pains. Ensuring our children receive nutritious meals is a vital component of their academic health,” Murphy said.

Cash prizes will be available in the following categories:

Districts

  • Highest overall participation percentage – cash prizes for first place ($4,000), second place ($2,000), third place ($1,000) and fourth place ($500).
  • Highest increase in participation – cash prizes for first place ($4,000), second place ($2,000), third place ($1,000), and fourth place ($500).
  • Implementation of an alternative breakfast program or adding breakfast where it was not offered before. Honorable mention

Charter/Nonpublic

  • Highest overall participation percentage. There will be cash prizes for first place ($2,500).
  • Highest increase in participation percentage. There will be cash prizes for first place ($2,500).
  • Implementation of an alternative breakfast program or adding breakfast where it was not offered before. Honorable mention

Winners will be announced at next year’s Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service conference, and funding must be used to purchase equipment to improve the infrastructure of their nutrition programs.

Governor Jack Markell applauded the School Breakfast Challenge and emphasized the state’s commitment to ensuring the all Delawareans, especially children, have access to nutritious foods.

“While Delaware’s economy continues to improve, we know the recovery hasn’t reached all of our neighbors,” Markell said. “We will keep the safety net strong for individuals, families and, especially, children who are vulnerable to hunger. One critical area of our focus is our schools, recognizing that without consistent access to food, children’s physical, emotional and educational growth are in jeopardy. The School Breakfast Challenge is another important step to move us closer to a hunger-free Delaware.”

Administrator of the United State Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Nutrition Services Audrey Rowe discussed USDA’s important role in alleviating hunger for millions of Americans.

“I want to commend the many school districts in Delaware who have brought breakfast into the classroom,” said Rowe. “We hear from teachers who say that when kids eat healthy foods they do better in school. When kids get lots of healthy food choices and exercise at school, they learn good habits for life.”

In addition to the launch of the school breakfast challenge, anti-hunger advocate Joel Berg, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, provided keynote remarks that focused on the country’s collective will, including government’s, to end hunger.

“Saying we can end poverty and hunger by removing funding is like saying we can get rid of drought by removing water,” said Berg.

Four panels throughout the day focused on community-based advocacy, federal nutrition policies, healthy food access and funding for anti-hunger programs.

“The biggest bang for a federal dollar is SNAP benefits,” said Ellen Teller, Director of Government Relations for the Food Research and Action Center. “However, the SNAP program is the bull’s-eye on Capitol Hill. Anti-hunger advocates must be agile and play defense again the attacks.”

Panelists informed attendees that both national and local advocacy efforts are an important part of the political process as it relates to programs for low-income households.”

“When the stimulus funding ended last November, that meant an annual $16 million reduction in SNAP benefits, which is more than the entire annual budget of the Food Bank of Delaware,” said Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, which administers the SNAP program in the state. “Food is paramount to keeping people safe and healthy in their communities. That’s why we are committed to working with Gov. Jack Markell, our congressional delegation, state legislators and federal officials to find long-term solutions to meeting the basic food needs of vulnerable Delawareans.”

“Today was truly inspiring,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “To have so many individuals from all sectors show their support for a community free of hunger was humbling. We know that we have what it takes to end hunger in our state. Now we just need the political will to make it happen. Hunger is unacceptable in this country.”

To learn more about the School Breakfast Challenge or to sponsor it, please contact Dan Reyes, Coalition to End Hunger Coordinator at the Food Bank of Delaware, at (302) 292-1305 ext 206 or dreyes@fbd.org.

Check out some photos from the day!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocate, Events, Hunger, Nutrition, Poverty, Programs