Category Archives: 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/.

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Lana the Iguana hits the road this summer teaching healthy eating

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

We all know that kids learn through play, so what better way to reinforce healthy food choices than through some fun and games?

That’s where Lana comes in.

Lana the Iguana, perceived as a puppet by grownups, visits pre-schoolers in child care settings to talk about eating fruits and vegetables every day. Lana, of course, is accompanied by her own adult, one of the members of the Food Bank of Delaware’s SNAP-education team, when she goes on the road.

On Thursday morning, Lana and Laura, a Summer Nutrition Educator working out of the Milford branch, crossed a busy Airport Road to visit pre-schoolers at the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club.

These boys and girls loved Lana and had no clue that her name was an acronym for Learning About Nutrition through Activities. They didn’t care because Lana and Miss Laura made the half-hour activity playful and interactive.

Kids learned about planting seeds, watering gardens and harvesting carrots. They talked about which vegetables they liked and which ones they didn’t care for.

The message was visual, interactive and inclusive, so that at the end of the program, each child got to take home a booklet and then had an opportunity to give Lana a hug before she left for another gig.

To schedule this program, and other age-appropriate SNAP classes, contact Leah Brown at lbrown@fbd.org or (302) 292-1305, ext. 210 in New Castle County or Asia Thurston at (302) 393-2013 or athurston@fbd.org in Kent and Sussex Counties.

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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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Grab and Go summer meal program at High Point Mobile Home Park

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

It didn’t matter that the thermometer registered at least 90 degrees and the heat index was 101.

Gaij Copes was ready to lend a hand at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Grab and Go program in his neighborhood.

Gaij, age 12, will enter the 7th grade at W.T. Chipman Middle School in Harrington this fall, but he’s no stranger to volunteering.

Missy Holochwost, Senior Nutrition Coordinator/Mobile Pantry Coordinator for the Food Bank of Delaware, is his mother.

The Summer Grab and Go Program complements the Food Bank’s existing nutrition services to reach an underserved population of children who are unable to access our Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at traditional distribution sites.

Providing adequate nutrition during the 10-week summer vacation is a challenge as these children scatter throughout the community with limited or no access to summer nutrition programs.

Children who reside in rural or isolated settings are unable to benefit from the meals provided at traditional SFSP meal distribution sites.

Such is the case at High Point Mobile Home Park, a community of 406 homes located adjacent to the state’s major north-south highway, but not within safe walking distance of a school or church.

So five days a week, Gaij rides his bike to meet the Food Bank van where he helps the driver unload coolers and checks off those who are enrolled in the program as they pick up breakfast, lunch and beverages.

Because of his mother’s work, Gaij is familiar with the Food Bank’s mission.

“I like helping people,” he said, adding that he also assisted in the sign-up process by delivering flyers with enrollment information door to door.

As a result, at High Point, there are 27 signed up and a waiting list of 10.

Bob, the site manager at High Point, praised the Grab and Go program.

“I like the program, and I’m glad people are talking advantage. It’s running smooth, and for me, it’s nothing extra,” he said.

The current program has been made possible by a 3-year, $300,000 grant provide by the Our Family Foundation.

 

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Grab and Go program starts on a high note

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

I’m somewhat new to the Food Bank of Delaware. Having come on board in late August, I haven’t yet experienced a full year’s cycle. But I was warned. My co-workers told me that the Food Bank is really busy in the summer, and while it’s not officially summer by the calendar, our summer season has begun.

School’s out, so the Food Bank steps in to meet the nutritional needs of children in their own neighborhoods.

Over the past week and a half, I attended the launch of the Grab and Go Program in three neighborhoods located in Bridgeville, Frederica and Millsboro.

The program complements our existing nutrition services to reach an underserved population of children who are unable to access our Summer Nutrition Program (Summer Food Service Program – SFSP) through traditional distribution sites.

Providing adequate nutrition during the 10-week summer vacation is a challenge as these children scatter throughout the community with limited or no access to summer nutrition programs.

Children who reside in rural or isolated settings are sometimes unable to benefit from the meals provided at traditional SFSP meal distribution sites.

The meals, breakfast and lunch, will be delivered to the main office of low-income housing units, apartment buildings and mobile home parks in southern New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County, to be distributed for offsite consumption.

The current program has been made possible by a three-year, $300,000 grant provide by the Our Family Foundation.

That being said, the Food Bank staff launched the program by offering these same children a good time as well. While parents or a guardian checked in to confirm the child’s registration, the kids could play.

In fact, my job was. . . face painter! How much fun is that? Best of all, the children seemed to enjoy having their faces decorated with colorful flowers or footballs or an amateur rendering of a super hero. After waiting their turns, some kids even came back to my table for an additional painted tattoo on their arm.

In addition to face paint, we brought hula hoops, big balls to toss into plastic barrels, drew a hopscotch game on the sidewalk and encouraged the kids to join us.

When the registration was confirmed, parents received their child’s first day of meals in a reusable insulated tote bag so that refrigerated beverages made it home at the proper temperature.

I’ll be revisiting some of these sites throughout the summer to see how this program is going. Hopefully, it’s a huge success!

Check out some pictures from our recent launch in Millsboro!

 

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Grab and Go kick off at Elizabeth Cornish Landing

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Thanks to a very generous grant from the Our Family Foundation, we are able to continue to grow our Summer Grab and Go meal program for kids this year.

On Monday, the first program got under way on a warm and humid morning in the Elizabeth Cornish neighborhood just north of Bridgeville.

The Summer Grab and Go Program complements our existing nutrition services to reach an under-served population of children who are unable to access our Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at traditional distribution sites.

This is my first summer at the Food Bank of Delaware, so I didn’t know what to expect from this Monday assignment.

My job, if you want to call it that, was to help with the face-painting. In addition to face painting, kids ran through an obstacle course, collected prizes by playing assorted games, hula hooped, jump roped and more!

The kids we met were delightful and seemed to enjoy our visit!

Let’s say the painting itself was at times a bit challenging. No simple hearts and flowers for these girls. Some requested flags from their native countries, sometimes incorporating the flag’s colors and patterns into a heart or butterfly. Glitter and faux gemstones were popular enhancements to the intricate pink and purple designs on their cheeks.

Some even returned for more paint on their arms or the back of their hands.

But the real focus of the day was meeting the challenge of feeding hungry children.

The 10-week Grab and Go initiative reaches out to children with limited access to summer feeding programs, primarily children who live in a rural area.

While Elizabeth Cornish is a neighborhood, it’s a small one, and it’s situated adjacent to a major highway outside the corporate limits of a town. The residents could not walk or bike safely into town.

The current program has been made possible by a three-year, $300,000 grant provide by the Our Family Foundation.

In addition to fun and games for kids, each child received a free summer meal and parents had the opportunity to visit our mobile pantry, staffed by students from The Culinary School at our Milford Branch. After a cooking demonstration from our Community Nutrition Educator Asia Thurston, families chose up to 100 pounds of food from our pantry on wheels.

In order to meet the people we serve, we will be visiting more neighborhoods in the upcoming week.

Need free summer meals? Call 2-1-1! To learn more about our Summer Nutrition Program, please click here.

Check out some pictures from Monday’s event!

 

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Serving summer meals at Lingo Apartments in Long Neck

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Summer time and the living is easy . . . or so the song lyrics go, but for some children a summer vacation from school creates food insecurity.

With summer vacation just around the corner, the Food Bank of Delaware’s Summer Food Service Program fills a much-needed void at sites up and down the state.

Volunteer Carol Feeley manages the program at Lingo Apartments in Long Neck.

Mrs. Feely is an active member of the Auxiliary of the American Legion Post 28 in Millsboro.

A recent retiree and chairperson of the community service committee, Mrs. Feeley and other auxiliary members help out during the summer months from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the complex’s community room.

Every day in the summer, about 15 elementary school children show up for lunch. Some will stay for games or to chat with the volunteers.

“The kids are fun. They are nice children,” she said.

Mrs. Feely explains that assisting with this program meets one of the auxiliary’s mission of service; the organization became involved four years ago.

“Our goal is service to veterans, military families and their children in the community. We know that one child is a grandchild of our members. We’re serving veterans through their family members,” she said.

For the volunteers, the service is uncomplicated: one or two assist each day with setting up, serving and wiping down the tables. Food Bank of Delaware volunteers pack the meals back at the Milford Branch and a driver delivers right to the apartment complex.

“It’s really simple. By one o’clock, they’re gone and we’re cleaned up,” Mrs. Feeley added.

The program, funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and administered by the state Department of Education, provides meals to low-income children who don’t have access to free and reduced-price school meals during the summer months.

Last summer, the Food Bank of Delaware delivered 150,000 children’s meals. This year the Food Bank expects to deliver more than 200,000.

As with other Food Bank of Delaware programs, volunteers like Mrs. Feeley and the American Legion Post 28 Auxiliary are the key to meeting the needs of Delawareans having difficulties putting meals on the table.

Volunteers can sign up to assist with the Summer Food Service Program at http://www.fbd.volunteerhub.com.

Sites wishing to receive free meals from the Food Bank of Delaware may contact Dan Jackson, Hunger Relief Coordinator, at (302) 444-8128 or djackson@fbd.org.

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