Category Archives: Hunger

Food Bank services credited with improved outlook on life

0904_Hawkins (2)By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

It’s hard to imagine that there is anyone more grateful for the services provided by the Food Bank of Delaware than Edward Hawkins.

This Dover resident had undergone some difficult and stressful times before a friend told him about Food Bank programs provided through Calvary Assembly of God, one of our 550 partners engaged in hunger-relief operations.

A Vietnam-era Navy veteran and former maintenance technician, Edward moved from Pennsylvania to Dover in order to be closer to his wife’s sister. He was injured on the job in 2008 and applied for disability benefits. His wife of 23 years became ill and died of cancer last year.

“At that time, I lost weight because I was not eating well. I was positioning myself to die,” said Edward, recounting the combined negative impact of grief and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A friend noticed his situation and suggested he connect with the Food Bank.

“I registered and got a box of food,” he said, and he wrote down what was happening in his life as he started on the road to recovery.

“I filled in the shortfall in my SNAP benefit allotments,” he wrote.

Edward, 58, shared the positive impact of the Food Bank of Delaware’s hunger-relief efforts with legislators in June when the Food Bank lobbied for state support in Delaware’s Legislative Hall.

He clearly loves to cook and eat healthy food and has embraced the Community Supported Agriculture program in which he received a box of farm-fresh produce at the Loockerman Way Farmers’ Market every Wednesday during the growing season. He was one of 149 families participating each week.

“That is a lot of good food they are providing,” he said. “I tell people that’s the reason I’m here, eating things like fresh greens.”

In addition, the fresh produce provides him an opportunity to try new foods and experiment with innovative recipes. He often offers his neighbors a chance to taste what he’s created.

“Healthy food can be so good, and I introduce them to something they’ve never had,” he added, sharing the preparation details of his impromptu entrees.

“I wish more people could be a part of the CSA. I know some people don’t know these programs are available,” he said.

To learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware’s hunger-fighting programs, visit http://www.fbd.org.

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Filed under Hunger, Poverty, Face of Hunger, Programs

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.

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Monday is Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day at the Delaware State Fair

State FairThe third annual “Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day” will take place on Monday, July 21 at the Delaware State Fair!

Fair attendees who bring five Food Lion brand canned goods will in exchange receive one free gate admittance to the Delaware State Fair from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Monday, July 21. The community effort is part of the third annual “Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day” at the Delaware State Fair.

“At Food Lion, we believe no one should have to choose between dinner and paying rent or gasoline and buying groceries,” said Bob Mills, Food Lion director of execution and implementation for the Dover, Del. area. “That’s why we’re so passionate about our renewed focus on ending hunger and working to make the lines shorter at local feeding agencies through Food Lion Feeds. Last year’s hunger relief day helped to provide approximately 17,000 meals for hungry families in Kent and Sussex Counties, and we hope to exceed that donation this year with the help of our customers.”

Donations received through this year’s effort will assist families in Kent and Sussex Counties struggling to put food on the table.

“We are thrilled to continue this partnership with Food Lion and the Delaware State Fair,” said Food Bank of Delaware Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson. “It was incredible to see the excitement from our community for this annual food drive. Over the past two years we have collected more than 42,000 meals. We hope to exceed last year’s total!”

“Our goal this year is to pass last year’s amazing number and hopefully bring in more than 27,000 meals. This is such an amazing project to be a part of and we thank Food Lion for making this food drive possible through its partnership with the Delaware State Fair,” said Assistant General Manager and Director of Marketing Danny Aguilar

Volunteers from Food Lion and the Food Bank of Delaware will accept donations at all gates. No items stored in glass will be accepted. Some of the Food Bank of Delaware’s most-needed items include the following:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Canned soups
  • Tuna fish
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned meats
  • Cereal

For more information about the Delaware State Fair, please visit www.delawarestatefair.com.

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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!

 

 

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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.

 

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

Summer volunteers needed

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Volunteers are needed at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Newark and Milford facilities to help assemble and pack meals for children enrolled in various summer programs.

Sign up is easy and can be done online. To volunteer to help with the Summer Food Service Program, members of the community may visit www.fbd.volunteerhub.com and sign up for a shift during the months of June (starting June 13), July or August (program ends in the middle of the month).

“Our volunteers are so important to us at the Food Bank of Delaware, and obviously to children throughout the state,” said our President and CEO Patricia Beebe.

“Nutritious meals that are also appealing to kids are delivered to child-care facilities, children’s programs, summer camps, faith-based organizations, neighborhoods and more. For children in need, these meals are essential to their health and success,” she added.

No experience is necessary, but volunteers should be able to stand for extended periods of time. Shifts are operated throughout the day Monday through Friday and some occasional weeknights and weekends.

The Summer Food Service Program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Delaware Department of Education, provides breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to low-income children in the summer when access to free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch meal programs are not available.

To help bridge the nutrition gap during the summer months, the Food Bank provides these nutritious meals for sites that feed hungry children.

This summer, the Food Bank of Delaware will deliver more than 200,000 meals to children during the 10-week program. To learn more about becoming a children’s nutrition site, contact Dan Jackson, Hunger Relief Coordinator at (302) 444-8128 or djackson@fbd.org.

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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.

 

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