Category Archives: Children's Nutrition

Food Bank of Delaware to serve free meals to childrens’ sites this summer

By Natosha Bratcher, Communications Intern

When the school year draws to a close for the summer, so does lunch for many young children in Delaware. With the end of the school year quickly approaching and summer vacation following very closely behind, the Food Bank of Delaware is encouraging community partners to help serve free meals to children in need through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Beginning June 16, the Food Bank, with help from thousands of volunteers, will prepare and distribute free meals to qualified sites throughout the state. Sites include faith-based organizations, summer camps, sports camps and other centers where children congregate during the summer months.

Neighborhoods and apartment complexes are also qualified to serve free meals through the program. To host a neighborhood program, an adult must contact the food bank for an application to determine eligibility, attend a training session and submit weekly paperwork.

To qualify for free meals, sites must operate in low-income areas where at least half of the children (ages three to 18 years of age) are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. Meals are served seven days a week and there are no fees associated with the program.

“When school is no longer is session, many Delaware school-aged children lose their major food source for the day,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “With the help of the community and our team, we can ensure that at-risk children receive proper nutrition during the summer months.”

Unfortunately only a small percentage of eligible children access these free meals during the summer. The Food Bank of Delaware encourages all eligible organizations and neighborhoods to get involved this summer to help alleviate childhood hunger.

Last year, the Food Bank of Delaware distributed more than 150,000 meals through SFSP, and Beebe hopes that this number will increase in the 2014 summer season.

Nan Ciuffetelli, the executive director of the Cab Calloway Summer School of Arts, utilized the Summer Food Service Program last summer, “The food bank’s meal program is a great addition to what we accomplish. Our students take part in a free breakfast and lunch program during the school year, so it is essential that we continue this during the summer.”

On the menu, participating children can expect to find healthy, kid-friendly foods including cereal and milk, bagels, soy butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, apples, nectarines, celery sticks, yogurt and more.

SFSP is a federally-funded program operated nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and locally by the Delaware Department of Education.

Sites in New Castle and Sussex counties interested in serving free meals may contact Dan Jackson, Hunger Relief Coordinator at (302) 444-8128 or djackson@fbd.org. Sites in Kent County may contact the Department of Education at (302) 735-4060.

 

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LANA the Iguana

IMG_6919Meet LANA (Learning about Nutrition through Activities) the Iguana, the newest member of the Food Bank’s Nutrition Education team! Lana is a loveable iguana who only eats fruits and vegetables! Yesterday she accompanied Alina Wade, our Community Nutrition Educator, on a visit to the Absalom Jones Head Start program for preschool-aged children. Lana and Alina visited four classes yesterday!

Lana is no stranger to the kids at Absalom Jones! She was greeted with lots of hugs and kisses, as yesterday was her third visit to program.  The cute little iguana loves fruits and vegetables and shares her enthusiasm for healthy eating with the children!

LANA the Iguana was developed by the Minnesota Department of Health to help children learn to taste, eat and enjoy more fruits and vegetables. The goal of the LANA Preschool Program is to help young children eat more fruits and vegetables each day to promote good health, healthy weight and reduced risk of chronic disease

Yesterday, children were introduced to the apricot. But before they started, a brief review of last week’s featured vegetable, broccoli! Last week, the children had a chance to make their own miniature broccoli forrest by standing broccoli florets up in a cup of dip. Reviews were mixed on the broccoli sample they tasted, but one preschooler shared with the group that while she doesn’t like broccoli, she does like horses!

Each session is only 30 minutes long to keep the children engaged and focused. Yesterday Alina read, Lana Plays a Trick on Tenzin. After the story, children were asked if they knew about the apricot. Alina explained that apricots grow on trees. To show where their food comes from, the group played “pin the apricot on the tree.” The children lined up, closed their eyes and did their best to get the apricot on the tree! Before long it was time to say goodbye to Lana and Alina. Lana departed to a sea of preschool hugs and kisses!

Next week when Lana and Alina visit they will continue to learn about apricots. Using dried apricots pretzel rods and raisins, the children will create apricot “bugs!”

To learn more about Lana the Iguana, please contact Alina Wade, Community Nutrition Educator, at awade@fbd.org or (302) 292-1305 ext 210.

Check out some pictures from yesterday’s visit with Lana!

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Partner Spotlight: Banneker Elementary’s Backpack Program

028cropBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

One mention of the Food Bank of Delaware’s backpacks brings smiles to the faces of five students at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School in Milford.

Keniah and Sarah, both third graders; Allison, fourth grade, and twins Tamara and Darius, second-grade students, agree they look forward to receiving the weekend meals.

Sarah says she loves the macaroni and cheese, while Keniah’s favorite foods are the cereal and tuna fish.

At this school, 105 children out of the school’s 556 students receive a bag full of food through the Backpack Program.

“More are eligible,” said Maria Griffin, a counselor who coordinates the program for the school.

The students say they also share their food with younger brothers and sisters too.

Backpacks go to children who are identified as at risk for hunger over the weekends or school holiday when federal school meal programs are not available. They are packed with a variety of kid-friendly, nutritious and easy to prepare foods, food including shelf-stable milk and juice, meals such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs and beef stew, apple sauce, cereal and more.

“It’s done with secrecy, privacy. I pick out a place, and they come between 1 and 2 p.m. with their school packs. The teachers are e-mailed, and this is when the other kids are in class. It’s not out in the open,” Griffin said.

“Then they put the packs back in their locker.”

Griffin notes that the in addition to participating in the Backpack Program, the students also give back to their community by collecting donations for a school food drive. The most recent effort yielded 270 pounds of food.

In addition to schools, the backpacks are distributed through community centers, childcare centers, Kids Café sites, and more. Close to 5,000 children state-wide participate each week.

To learn more about the Backpack Program, please contact Greg Coumatos, Children’s Nutrition Coordinator at gcoumatos@fbd.org or (302) 292-1305 ext 242.

It costs approximately $158 to provide one child with weekend and holiday food for a whole school year.  This includes the cost of the backpack, food for each week, supplies, transportation and program administration. To sponsor a child, call Larry Haas, Development Director, at (302) 294-0185 or email him at lhaas@fbd.org.

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Program spotlight: Cape Henlopen School District Backpack Program

01_16 rehoboth backpack photo

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Judy Hudson, the social worker at Rehoboth Elementary School, is the school coordinator for the Food Bank of Delaware’s Backpack Program, but she quickly credits two faithful PTO volunteers as “the energy behind the distribution.”

Statewide, the program serves 4,382 students in 115 schools. Students are referred into the program, rather than based on income requirements or eligibility for free and reduced lunches.

The Food Bank of Delaware’s Backpack Program provides food to children in need 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, meals such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs and beef stew, granola bars, apple sauce, cereal and more.

Food and informational flyers for the backpacks are packed by volunteers, and the Food Bank of Delaware delivers the bags to participating sites weekly. Site staff stores the bags in a secure area until distribution day.

Dependent upon availability, school supplies are also distributed in the take-home bags.

So each week, the Food Bank trucks deliver 99 backpacks to the Rehoboth school’s back door where they are unloaded by the custodial staff, and then every Thursday volunteers Carrie Robertson and Sandy Monigle take the bags around.

Since these moms are sensitive to how differently older children respond to receiving the bag, they have one system for younger kids and another for those in grades 4 and 5.

Second grade teacher Keri Mitchell places the bags in her students’ backpacks.

“The little ones are very thankful because they will now have food in the house for the weekend. This really helps the whole family,” Mitchell said.

At H.O. Brittingham, another elementary school in the Cape Henlopen School District, Katina Powell is the school secretary and also the designated school coordinator for the past three years.

Powell accepted the responsibility because she was all too aware of the need; of the school’s 583 students, 82 percent live in poverty.

“Who can say no,” she said, adding that she relies on a paraprofessional to distribute the bags to students.

“The Food Bank trucks come on Wednesday, and we take them on Thursday.”

She can see that students love the backpacks.

“It’s done discreetly. If it’s not there, they are looking for it. It’s something that shows we care. The littlest thing, they are appreciative for. We do coat drives, Christmas drives and Thanksgiving drives. We are the only school in my district that has this type of poverty. We do the best we can to make it work,” she said.

To learn more about the Backpack Program, please contact Alina Wade at awade@fbd.org or (302) 292-1305 ext 210.

It costs approximately $158 to provide one child with weekend and holiday food for a whole school year.  This includes the cost of  food for each week, supplies, transportation and program administration. To sponsor a child, call Larry Haas, Development Director, at (302) 294-0185 or email him at lhaas@fbd.org.

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Filling little bellies on the weekend with the Backpack Program

Backpack April 2013 2By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit two schools that participate in our Backpack Program, and more specifically to meet the coordinators for a feature story about the program: Judy Hudson at Rehoboth Elementary School and Katina Powell at H.O. Brittingham Elementary in Milton. (Check back for the story on Monday!)

Let me say something at the start: being professionally associated with the Food Bank of Delaware is an honor and a privilege. No matter where I go, people express appreciation for the services we provide, and especially those directed toward children who have no food at home.

Visiting sites is educational on several levels, and it’s also an opportunity to answer questions about the services we offer. These school coordinators were all too familiar with the faces of childhood hunger.

That’s right. Thousands of children here in Delaware come to school for breakfast and lunch, then return home to empty refrigerators and kitchen cupboards. What about the weekends?

The Backpack Program provides nutritious food for these kids over the weekend. Packed inside a five-pound plastic potato bag are four kid-friendly, non-perishable meals and two snacks.

Food Bank trucks deliver these bags to the 115 schools statewide, and from there it takes a team to discreetly put a bag in a child’s backpack. Each school has its own distribution system.

Although the demographics of these elementary schools differ, both schools I visited are part of the Cape Henlopen School District and educate students from kindergarten to 5th grades.

The Backpack Program is set up statewide so that when a teacher or counselor becomes aware of a child who might be food insecure, the designated school coordinator attempts to get parents or guardians to complete the paperwork for this service.

At the school in Rehoboth, 99 backpacks go home each weekend, while 55 are distributed in Milton.

Nevertheless, both school coordinators called the backpacks blessings to those who received them and were extremely appreciative that this program helps their students secure one of life’s basic necessities.

To learn more about the Backpack Program, please contact School Nutrition Coordinator, Alina Wade, at (302) 292-1305 ext 210 or awade@fbd.org.

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Kid C.H.E.F. at the Stevenson House in Milford

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

On a chilly January afternoon, nine teen-age guys sat around tables at the Stevenson House listening attentively as Asia Thurston reviewed sources of protein and the distinction between proteins and diary.

Asia is a Community Nutrition Educator for the Food Bank of Delaware, and she takes her Kid C.H.E.F. program on the road to schools, child care centers and even unlikely locations like the Stevenson House.

The William Marion Stevenson House Detention Center in Milford is a lock-secure facility staffed for 55 pre-adjudicated male and female youth under the age of 18 years old.

Visitors must have permission to enter, and youth rehabilitative counselors are seated near the teens in the cafeteria where Ms. Thurston presents her lessons.

C.H.E.F.  is an acronym for Cooking Health Easy Foods, so Asia selects recipes that students can prepare at home with or without supervision.

As part of the program, each student goes home with a small draw-string backpack loaded with kitchen utensils and an oven mitten mitt, and additionally they receive the recipes from class in the Kid C.H.E.F.  package.

The teens respond as Asia peppers them with questions: Who can name a protein? Who has tried tofu?

Last week’s 60-minute lesson centers around turkey tacos, and this instructor hands out can openers along with cans of tomatoes and beans.

“They really love this,” said Andrea Wojcik, communications coordinator for Delaware’s Services for Children, Youth & Families, the state agency which oversees the youth housed in this facility.

After using hand sanitizer and donning plastic gloves, teens volunteer to participate in the preparation, then joke amongst themselves as the ground turkey browns in the electric skillet.

Some of the teens,01-11 kids chef03 whose names are kept confidential, say they enjoy cooking.

One young man, identified as C., his first initial, said he enjoyed the Kid C.H.E.F. experience.

“I like to cook. It’s fun,” he said, adding that he cooked for his sister while his mother worked.

J., 17, said he’s been cooking since he was 11 years old and also worked the grill in a restaurant.

“It’s excellent. It gives you knowledge, things I can share with my little brother.”01_11 kids chef02

The program is free to all children who qualify. To sponsor a child for this program, contact Larry Haas, Development Director at lhaas@fbd.org. The cost of $72 includes the chef equipment and tote bag, food to prepare recipes and take-home nutrition education materials and activities for the family.

For more information about hosting a Kid C.H.E.F. class in Kent or Sussex Counties, contact Asia at (302) 393-2013 or athurston@fbd.org.

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Kids learn about easy nutrition with Kid C.H.E.F.!

By Mike Domkbkoski, Communications Intern

One in four Delawareans depend on our network of hunger-relief program partners for emergency food assistance. In addition to meeting the immediate food needs of families, we also work to help educate and inform people about good nutrition through multiple programs. One such program is Kid C.H.E.F.

Kid C.H.E.F. (Cooking Healthy, Easy Food) is a program that teaches kids how to prepare safe, simple meals on their own, while also teaching them information about nutrition and health. The class runs about an hour and the kids work with real food and prepare a meal.

I had the opportunity to sit in on one of these classes in late July and was more than impressed. The Food Bank’s own Scott Schuster taught a group of about ten children how to make healthy and delicious smoothies.

The kids, sporting Kid C.H.E.F. aprons and chef’s hats, followed instructions from Scott in order to prepare a strawberry-banana smoothie. He took them along step by step, but the kids were the ones reading the ingredients out loud and preparing the drink.

Of course, the kids were able to enjoy their delicious creations after completion, but Schuster also had them work on their nutritional workbooks, which featured games and activities promoting healthy foods and taught them about certain fruits and vegetables.

The idea of proper food handling and preparation was also a focus of the class, as all students were required to wear latex gloves and practice proper handling procedures.

Most importantly, the kids were shown that cooking can actually be fun! The kids couldn’t stop smiling both during and after the smoothie preparation. Children enjoyed learning and answering nutrition related questions, felt comfortable preparing their own snack and especially enjoyed getting to partake in the smoothie tasting afterwards.

The program runs all throughout the year. For more information on Kid C.H.E.F., please contact Food Bank of Delaware Community Nutritionist Leah Brown at (302) 292-1305 ext 250 or Scott Schuster at (302) 292-1305 ext 252 (New Castle County) and Community Nutrition Educator Asia Thurston at (302) 393-2013 or athurston@fbd.org (Kent and Sussex Counties)

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Food Bank of Delaware to distribute free meals to eligible children’s sites this summer

IMG_1888When school ends for the summer, so does lunch for many youngsters in Delaware. With the approach of summer vacation near, the Food Bank of Delaware is encouraging community partners to help serve free meals to children in need through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Beginning June 10 the Food Bank, with help from thousands of volunteers, will prepare and distribute free meals to qualified children’s feeding sites throughout the state. Sites include faith-based organizations, summer camps, daycares and other centers where children congregate during the summer months. Neighborhoods are also qualified to serve meals through the program. To host a neighborhood program, an adult must contact us for an application to determine eligibility, attend a training session and submit weekly paperwork.

To qualify for free meals, sites must operate in low-income areas where at least half of the children (up to 18 years of age) are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. There are no fees associated with the program, and meals are available seven days a week.

“No child should go hungry during the summer months,” said our President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “With the help of the community we can ensure that children receive proper nutrition when school is not in session. It is unfortunate that only a small percentage of eligible children access these free meals during the summer. We encourage all eligible organizations and neighborhoods to get involved this summer to help alleviate childhood hungry.”

Children can expect to see a menu of healthy, kid-friendly foods including peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, apples, yogurt, milk, juice and more.

Free meals are provided through the Summer Food Service Program. SFSP is a federally-funded program operated nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and locally by the Delaware Department of Education.

Sites in New Castle and Sussex counties interested in hosting a summer nutrition program may contact Amanda Good, Children’s Nutrition Program Coordinator, at (302) 444-8128 or agood@fbd.org. Sites in Kent County may contact the Department of Education at (302) 735-4060.

To learn where available meals are, please call the Delaware Helpline by dialing 2-1-1.

To volunteer to help make and pack meals this summer, please visit www.fbd.volunteerhub.com.

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Increasing access to healthy foods for Delaware’s children

100503-FA-0465webBy Alina Wade, School Nutrition Coordinator

As the School Nutrition Coordinator here at the Food Bank of Delaware, my goal is to partner with as many of Delaware’s non-public schools (private, parochial and charter) working with at-risk populations to increase the nutrition assistance provided to their students and families. And best of all, the nutrition assistance we provide to eligible families is FREE! Like you, we know part of a student’s academic success is directly linked to their healthy nutritional intake and consistent food security. The programs we offer provide nutritional meals after school and on weekends with no fees to the schools or their families.

Schools can go further by providing meals to students to take home on weekends, as well as during after-school enrichment programs, including sports groups. The meals served after school are consumed on-site during the enrichment program. The food provided to at-risk children for the weekends and holidays (when school is not in session or federal school meal programs are not available), are distributed on Fridays or the last day before a holiday or vacation in a discreet manner. All meals are prepared and packaged at the Food Bank and delivered by our hired drivers.

Since I’ve started at the Food Bank of Delaware (a little over a month ago), I have reached out to 18 different organizations and/or schools in a matter of three weeks. Or in other words, reaching out and making these successful partnerships, has allowed us to feed 1,800 children! If this was just the outcome of three weeks, think of what we can do over a year!

If you would like to set up a meeting to further discuss these opportunities and/or have any questions, please contact me via email at awade@fbd.org or by phone at 302-292-1305 ext. 210.

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Giant Food commits $300,000 over next three years to alleviate childhood hunger in Delaware

We were honored to be amongst five Feeding America food banks attending a special announcement at Giant Food’s Tivoli Square store in Washington, D.C. yesterday. Giant has committed $2.8 million over the next three years to help alleviate childhood hunger in Delaware, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

We are so thankful for Giant’s commitment to a hunger-free community, especially for our children. Thanks to Giant’s generosity, we will be able to provide an additional 34,000 meals to 248 children at risk of hunger this summer through our Grab and Go meal program.

Our Grab and Go program complements the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federal program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered here in Delaware by the Department of Education. We started our Grab and Go format in Summer 2011. We collaborated with the Delaware Department of Education to secure the largest of the USDA Pilot Program grants awarded across the country in the amount of $404,216. The grant funded an innovative alternative to traditional summer nutrition programs enabling more children from low-income households in rural communities to access healthy food during the summer months.

For many children, when school ends for summer vacation so does access to healthy meals. Providing adequate nutrition during the 10-week summer vacation is a challenge for children who have limited to no access to traditional summer nutrition programs.  Many children in rural settings are unable to benefit from the meals provided at traditional SFSP meal distribution sites.With traditional SFSP programs children are required to eat their meal onsite, however; with the Grab and Go program, children are able to pick up their meal from a central location in their neighborhood or apartment complex to bring home to enjoy!

Children receive two meals per day seven days a week. Last year we distributed close to 90,000 meals to children during a 10-week period! Thanks to Giant’s support, our summer Grab and Go program will continue to close the meal gap for children who are unable to participate in the traditional SFSP.

To learn more about our Summer Nutrition Program, please contact Amanda Good, Children’s Nutrition Program Coordinator, at (302) 444-8128 or agood@fbd.org.

 

 

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