Category Archives: Hunger

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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Filed under Children's Nutrition, Hunger, Programs, Volunteer

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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Filed under Hunger, Hunger-Relief Partners, Poverty

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!

 

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Registration open for Ending Hunger conference on April 7

Registration is now open for the second annual Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service conference scheduled for Monday, April 7 at the Christiana Hilton.

The all-day conference, sponsored in part by TD Bank and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, will focus on collaborative efforts to increase access to foods, educate families about available programs and using the state’s collective skills, resources and political will to end hunger. The conference will feature speakers from both state and federal government agencies, education, nonprofit, agricultural and other community-based sectors.

Joel Berg, a nationally-recognized media spokesman in the fields of domestic hunger, food security, obesity, poverty, food-related economic development, national service and volunteerism and Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, will provide keynote remarks during the conference.

Panels throughout the day will focus on community-based advocacy; the farm bill, federal policy and inequality; healthy food access; and funding for anti-hunger efforts.

“The one-day conference offers a unique opportunity to bring together key business leaders, faith based organizations, hunger-relief partners, educators, government officials and nonprofits all collaborating and working together toward real solutions to help empower people and create political will to end hunger in Delaware,” said Coalition to End Hunger Chairwoman Julie Miro Wenger.

“Last year’s event resulted in a lot of enthusiasm from a sold-out crowd for identifying ways to increase our state’s efforts to end hunger,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “As a result we have enhanced our Coalition, are working with educators to increase participation in school breakfast, identifying new ways to bring in more produce for low-income Delawareans and increasing outreach to individuals utilizing food assistance who can serve as advocates in the community. I am excited to see what ideas are generated from this year’s event.”

When: Monday, April 7, 2014; 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where: Christiana Hilton, 100 Continental Drive

Registration: Registration is $25/person and includes a continental breakfast and lunch

Agenda:

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.; VIP Breakfast (invitation only; featuring remarks from Rick Goff, Executive Director, Office of Children’s Nutrition, West Virginia)

7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.; Registration, Breakfast, Exhibit Tables

8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.; Opening Remarks

8:30 a.m. -9:00 a.m.; Announcement of School Breakfast Challenge, Secretary Mark Murphy, Delaware Department of Education

9:00 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.; Keynote address, Joel Berg, Executive Director, New York City Coalition Against Hunger

10:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.; Community-Based Advocacy

11:15 a.m. – 12:25 p.m.; Farm Bill, Federal Policy and Equality

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.; Lunch

2:05 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.; Healthy Food Access

3:25 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Making it Happen – Funding

Complete panel descriptions and speakers, registration and more information can be found at www.coalitiontoendhunger.org.

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Filed under Events, Hunger, Nutrition, Poverty, Programs