Category Archives: Hunger-Relief Partners

Partner Spotlight: ERC Resource House

The Edgemoor Revitalization Cooperative Resource House is tucked away in the Edgemoor Gardens neighborhood just north of the city of Wilmington. With a neighborhood of close to 2,000 residents, the ERC Resource House provides empowerment opportunities for residents.

Under the leadership of Cheri Whitney, Edgemoor Gardens became one of ten Blueprint Communities in Delaware focused on improved sustainability and quality of life for families. The Blueprint program in Delaware is a partnership between the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and the University of Delaware Center for Community Research. The program provides intensive training, technical assistance, coaching as well as initial seed funding to competitively selected neighborhoods throughout the state to help them formulate plans to revitalize their communities.

Through the Resource House, families have access a number of resources to help lift them out of poverty. Whitney says the goal of the Resource House is to create a family environment.

“We have a core group of 40-50 residents who are ready to take the community to the next level of comfort,” she says. “We want to make this a community of choice where people want to live here.”

Over the summer, the Food Bank of Delaware provided free meals to children in Edgemoor Gardens through the Summer Food Service Program and weekend meals through the Summer Backpack Program. Each day 50 children visited the Resource House for a nutritious lunch.

“If it wasn’t for Cheri, half the kids in the neighborhood would not have meals,” said one parent during lunchtime.

In addition to distributing free meals all summer long, ERC also distributed backpacks just before the start of school thanks to the generosity of the Wilmington Flower Market.

Programming at the ERC Resource House is yearlong. Whitney and her team are proud to host an after-school teen program, funded by the Delaware Department of Education. Participants attend the program Monday-Thursday and take field trips to colleges and hold career days and more.

Gardens also play an important role in creating a healthier, happier and greener community. Gardens are spread throughout the community educating community members about healthy eating and beautifying the community.

Check out some more pictures from our visit to ERC!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Children's Nutrition, Hunger-Relief Partners, Programs

Food Bank of Delaware receives BJ’s Charitable Foundation Grant to Provide Fresh Way to Fight Hunger

BJs donationThe Food Bank of Delaware today announced that they are one of 30 food banks awarded grants this September from BJ’s Charitable Foundation. The foundation is distributing grants in celebration of BJ’s Wholesale Club’s 30th anniversary. A member of the Feeding America network, the Food Bank of Delaware is among those awarded gifts to increase the food storage capacity for local anti-hunger organizations.

To commemorate the $21,000 donation from the BJ’s Charitable Foundation, the Food Bank of Delaware and representatives from the Elsmere BJ’s Club presented a brand-new refrigeration unit to the Cedars Church of Christ food closet this morning. In addition to presenting the refrigeration unit, volunteers from BJ’s distributed fresh foods to 20 families in need.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded one of the 30th anniversary grants by BJ’s Charitable Foundation,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Because of this grant, we will be able to work with our local partners to help them obtain more healthful foods and ensure that food makes it into the hands of more Delawareans in need.”

The $21,000 donation will enable the Food Bank of Delaware to increase partner capacity for fresh foods. While food banks often have immense space and storage to provide product for the food pantries and shelters they support, these smaller partner organizations and charities often have limited equipment abilities. Limited equipment hinders their ability to serve the community.

“BJ’s Wholesale Club is proud to reach our 30-year milestone and share our enthusiasm by expanding our role in the fight against hunger,” said Charlie Tirney, general manager of the BJ’s Wholesale Club in Elsmere. “Supporting the Food Bank of Delaware and their local agencies’ need for capacity building will ensure that perishable food can reach the people who need it most in our own backyard.”

By providing anti-hunger partners like food pantries, shelters and meal programs with the necessary equipment, they can transport and store a larger amount of perishable items and thus distribute more food to local families struggling with food insecurity. The Food Bank of Delaware will provide a total of two glass door display refrigerators, four upright freezers, four chest freezers and 25 48-quart capacity coolers to partner agencies.

“The Cedars Church of Christ Food Pantry greatly appreciates the partnership we have with BJ’s Wholesale Club,” said Cedars Church of Christ Minister Brad Carman. “The donation of a new refrigeration unit is a great help in our efforts. BJ’s generosity in helping us feed the hungry with regular food donations and the gracious spirit with which they do it is wonderful. We at Cedars try to model that spirit as we pass it along to those in need food. These kindnesses are essential in our ongoing efforts to help.”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Donate, Hunger-Relief Partners, Supporters

Food Bank partners with First State Community Action to bring food and education to residents

08_Pinetown02 By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

The damp, drizzly weather didn’t keep folks away from a Monday afternoon meeting at the Pinetown Civic Center near Lewes.

Residents of the Pinetown community welcomed friends from Coolspring and Coverdale to learn more about programs available through a partnership between First State Community Action Agency and the Food Bank of Delaware.

Many of those attending were senior citizens eager and interested in free programs that enhance their quality of life.

For example, Charlotte McGarry, programs director for the Food Bank of Delaware, encouraged seniors to register for our Senior Nutrition Program, or Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Eligible seniors receive a box of shelf stable food, including juice, protein, cheese and milk each month.

“It’s great to use these items to supplement your pantry,” Charlotte said.

She also urged community leaders to consider other Food Bank programs that provide healthy snacks and meals for neighborhood children participating in after-school enrichment activities.

In addition, Charlotte said, Food Bank staff will assist eligible residents who want to file for SNAP benefits.

The highlight of the afternoon was a mobile pantry distribution in which those attending could select about 70 pounds of food for 0908 Pinetown01 (2)personal use.

Patricia Beebe, Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO, was on hand for the distribution.

“We are so pleased to be able to partner with First State Community Action. We share similar missions, and that is to eradicate hunger and poverty in Delaware. When we’re all focused on the same thing, I have no doubt we can achieve that goal,” she said.

Bernice Edwards, executive director at First State Community Action, echoed Pat’s sentiments.

“The partnership provides an opportunity to benefit us all. I call it the holistic approach,” she said.

Best of all, those attending the educational workshop were delighted to be a part of the mobile pantry.

Evelyn Wilson, a retiree from the Coverdale community, obviously enjoys cooking. She said she planned to incorporate some of the vegetables into soups and use the raisins in her box for bread pudding.

Joyce Gibbs, a Pinetown resident, was happy to stock up before she left for her job as a school bus monitor.

“It really helps out,” she said, noting that she especially appreciated the bread, cereal and juices.

Since hitting the road in March 2013, the mobile pantry has serviced 4,500 families throughout the state.

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware, visit www.fbd.org.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hunger, Hunger-Relief Partners, Programs

Partner Spotlight: Hanover Presbyterian Church

It takes a large network of partners to meet the emergency food needs of Delawareans. In recent years, the Food Bank of Delaware has encouraged hunger-relief partners to set up a client-choice pantry that allows families to choose the best foods for their households.

On a recent visit to Hanover Presbyterian Church, we were greeted by a dedicated team of volunteers. Pantry Coordinator, Becky, has been volunteering at the food closet for 10 years, while Ruth, who works the pantry window, has been lending a hand for 20 years! Both women work hard to make sure the community’s needs are met. In addition to hosting the pantry every Thursday, the church also opens a clothing closet to the community every Wednesday.

As families enter the church’s community hall, they sign in. A free hot breakfast with coffee is available to those who arrive early. One by one, households are called up to the pantry window where they choose from a variety of basic household staples.

Ruth staffs the window greeting each visitor with a smile. She asks families to pick the foods they need.  “You can choose from frozen chicken, beef or pork,” she says. “Next choose a few vegetables, a cereal and protein. You can choose either peanut butter or beans.”

After visiting the window, families receive fresh produce. An assortment of fruit was distributed by volunteer Milton. Herbert “the vegetable man” has been volunteering with Hanover for 4.5 years and says he is always on vegetable duty. On that particular day, Herbert distributed kale, collard greens and white potatoes. After picking up produce, families pick hygeine products and baked goods.

Becky is thankful for the partnership Hanover has with the Food Bank. What the pantry doesn’t get in donations, Becky uses her membership with the Food Bank of Delaware to supplement the inventory. Twice a month she visits to pick up an assortment of goods including frozen meats.

Check out some more pictures from Hanover’s food distribution!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hunger, Hunger-Relief Partners

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Children's Nutrition, Hunger-Relief Partners, Programs

Partner Spotlight: Casa San Francisco

0416_Casa blog photoBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Casa San Francisco, a 10-bed shelter for homeless people in Milton, provides services for the community as well as those who need a place to stay for 30 days.

And in today’s economy, the need is great, according to Melinda Woolf, program manager.

Catholic Charities operates the shelter and programs out of the renovated house on Mulberry Street. While there are plans to build a new facility, the staff is proud of the work that happens inside and out of cramped quarters.

Melinda says the five men and five women who reside there are expected to be seeking work during the day, but are offered a nutrition program in the evening.

Casa San Francisco, though, is much more than a shelter in that it serves as a site for multiple food distribution programs, including emergency food distribution reaching hungry seniors and families.

It’s a common misconception that the Food Bank provides emergency food directly to clients, but the Food Bank of Delaware actually connects to the community through hunger-relief partners, such as Casa San Francisco.

Partners, like Casa, send authorized representatives to pick up food from the Food Bank’s warehouse for distribution in order to meet client needs.

Since a federal cut in SNAP benefits went into effect in November, Melinda reports a sharp increase in the amount of requests for emergency food.

Prior to November, the staff distributed emergency food bags to an average of 40 households each month; that number has risen to 75 households getting a bag containing about 25 pounds in staples.

Casa San Francisco also distributes food through the HOPE program; HOPE is an acronym for Helping Other People Endure.

Melinda said HOPE serves eight locations, mostly seniors, around Sussex County, not only providing bags of staples but also nutritional and budgeting information presented in workshops.

“We are definitely volunteer driven,” she said.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hunger, Hunger-Relief Partners, Poverty

Partner Spotlight: Claymont Community Center

By Kim Turner, Communications Director

Tucked away in a residential community in the heart of Claymont, the Claymont Community Center offers area residents an array of services. From the Head Start preschool program and a medical clinic for the uninsured to a food pantry, the center is a one-stop shop. I had the opportunity to visit the center last week just before our last major snow storm hit. As pantry visitors filtered in and out to pick up essentials, the main concern for most was the next day’s forecast for almost a foot of snow.

Doris Lockett, the food pantry manager, said this winter has been especially difficult for pantry visitors. The cold weather, coupled with frequent snow storms, has significantly impacted her clients’ monthly budgets.

In just the last three weeks, Lockett has seen increases. “This is due to the fact that food stamps were cut and unemployment benefits have been cut off,” she explains. “It’s been a big problem for people.”

From 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. every Wednesday, the pantry is booked solid with appointments of individuals needing assistance. Households in need are able to visit the pantry every 30 days. She reports seeing new faces in line each Wednesday. A lot of families who never thought they would need help are now in need.
To keep up with demands, the food pantry depends on the support of the community. In addition to food from the Food Bank, the organization receives food drive donations from local organizations, churches and schools and also picks up rescued foods from local grocers, including Trader Joe’s and Acme. Volunteers from the community pick up these donations daily and deliver to the food closet. A second team helps pack grocery bags full of food and distributes to pantry visitors.

Last week during my visit, Wendoli, Gabriel, Yvonne and Steven were on hand to assist. They greeted pantry visitors and helped gather bags full of assorted baked goods, non-perishables, meats, juices, fresh produce, hygiene products and more. As soon as I met the four, I could tell they loved the work they were doing. They all appreciate how thankful food pantry visitorsy are for the extra assistance.

Check out some pictures from the recent visit!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Hunger, Hunger-Relief Partners, Poverty, Programs