Category Archives: Programs

Culinary Student Spotlight: Dave Coverdale

Dave CoverdaleBy Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware come from all walks of life. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Coverdale, who is enrolled at The Culinary School in Newark.

Dave, born and raised in Bear, DE, has always enjoyed cooking. He has experience in the banking industry and decided to go back to school for the culinary arts. Dave did some research and found information about the school and proceeded to enroll.

Dave has gained a great deal of knowledge in his short time here at The Culinary School. From kitchen terminology and kitchen etiquette, to knife skills and how to use professional cooking equipment, our culinary students are taught it all. Some of his favorite dishes he has learned to prepare are mirepoix, clarified butter, roasted garlic, roux and soups, as well as stocks.

Dave is currently excelling in both the kitchen and classroom. Wanting to gain experience beyond the walls of the Food Bank volunteered his time to help grill burgers and hot dogs at Woodside Farm Creamery’s annual National Ice Cream Day celebration and is doing a variety of culinary tasks  at the Our Lady of Fatima festival.

Dave’s training is not limited to culinary techniques and knife skills; he is also learning life skills, like working with different types of people, which are needed to excel not only in the kitchen, but in his day-to-day life.

Dave says that The Culinary School has impacted his life in “a very positive way, inside and outside of the class.”

Ready for a career in the food service industry? The next class in Newark begins September 22 (Milford class begins August 18). To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here.

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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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Community Supported Agriculture brings fresh produce to Delawareans

CSA june 2014By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

On the opening day of the Loockerman Way Farmers’ Market, downtown Dover was bustling.

Wednesday, June 18 was a hot day, and since the market opened at 11:30 a.m. shoppers welcomed cold beverages and sought shade under a big tree.

This market is significant to the Food Bank of Delaware since it’s a distribution site for our CSA program.

CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food. Shares are purchased at $500 for 18 weeks or $250 for a half share.

The program also benefits families in need, those eligible for SNAP benefits. Families can buy in for $20 and receive a share for $10/week ($5 for a half) and pick up boxes at select locations.

The contents of the package vary from week to week, depending on what is in season. In addition to receiving farm-fresh produce, some shareholders also receive tokens to be used around their local farmers market to purchase SNAP-approved items such as artisan bread, fresh eggs, local honey, homemade pasta and much more.

Shares are picked up weekly at the Cool Springs Farmers’ Market, the Food Bank of Delaware in Newark, the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford or the Lookerman Way Farmers’ Market.

Linda Butcher of Dover said she learned about the program through Food Bank distributions at Calvary Assembly of God.

She paused during the busy market to say she was really looking forward to using the produce in her share box: beets, parsley, zucchini, lettuce, blueberries and potatoes.

“I think I’ll make potato salad with the potatoes and fresh parsley,” she said.

Barbara Brkovich, our CSA coordinator, reports this year’s program has been a sell-out success with a waiting list of income-eligible folks ready to participate. Donor shares are still available, and individuals may sign up at any time this summer to receive a pro-rated price. To learn more about donor shares, please click here or contact Barb Brkovich, CSA Program Coordinator at (302) 292-1305 ext 204 or

Volunteers are also needed to help pack produce shares for the program. For available shifts or to sign up, please click here. To volunteer at the Lookerman Way Farmers’ Market, please click here.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272  or (202) 720-6382.

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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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Eat Smart, Live Strong at the Harrington Senior Center

0521_seniors01 (2)By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Enthusiastic students came out for the second class of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Eat Smart, Live Strong program held at the Harrington Senior Center.

The program is designed for seniors. Asia Thurston, Community Nutrition Educator, engages the participants for an hour, offering helpful suggestions on how to set healthy goals and also how to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and 30 minutes of exercise into their daily routine.

Since this is the second class, Asia asked for some feedback. In the first class, she provided participants with a system to track whether they ate one and a half cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables each day. They were also asked to note how much time they were engaged in exercise or activity each day.

“Everybody says they see a difference,” Asia said.

Asia explained that fruits and vegetables offer vitamins, minerals and increased fiber, while exercise improves balance while providing more energy and decreasing stress and anxiety.

“It reduces the risk of falling,” she added.

After the review, Asia addressed some challenges to the both the nutritional and fitness aspects to program. And she also offered solutions.

For example, some seniors may be concerned about the cost of produce. Asia suggested fruits and vegetables could be more affordable at a farmers market or free from their own garden.

She also responded to common objections that people find to exercising, including physical limitations or the cost of join a gym. So she provided some low or no-cost solutions to those stumbling blocks.

And like traditional classes, this one ended with the instructor assigning homework so these students could maintain their commitment to incorporating healthier eating and more activity in their lives.

For more information about programs offered by the Food Bank of Delaware, visit

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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

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

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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 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

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TD Charitable Foundation announces $95,000 donation to Food Bank of Delaware

TD check presentationThe TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, announced a $95,000 donation to the Food Bank of Delaware at an evening event held yesterday at Stubbs Elementary School in Wilmington.

Fifty-thousand dollars will be used to help fund our mobile pantry program, while the remaining will be used towards other hunger-relief efforts. Our 30-foot-long mobile pantry truck features both dry and cold storage and is stocked to meet the needs of the state’s most-vulnerable communities.

“TD recognizes the critical need to feed our neighbors,” said Terry Kenny, TD Bank Market President for Delaware. “We are proud to contribute to the crucial work the Food Bank of Delaware does in the area through this TD Charitable Foundation grant, and hope it will help support the needs of many in Delaware.”

Volunteers from the bank and the University of Delaware read stories to children, while adults participated in a financial literacy class facilitated by a TD employee. At the conclusion of the financial literacy class, parents were invited to visit the pantry.

Attendees walked away with close to 100 pounds of food including fresh produce, chicken, an emergency meal box filled with 30 pounds of nonperishables and assorted foods of their choosing.

“We are incredibly grateful for the TD Charitable Foundation’s support of our efforts to alleviate hunger in Delaware,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “The mobile pantry is an important program as it allows us to travel directly to some of our state’s most at-risk communities.”

Since the mobile pantry hit the road last March, close to 374,000 pounds of food have been distributed to more than 4,000 households.


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SNAP Education class helps local residents rethink sugar

 ???????????????????????????????By: Natosha Bratcher, Communications Intern

On Tuesday April 15, Wilmington residents at the Career Team Job Training and Vocational Rehabilitation Center located on the Riverfront in downtown Wilmington were educated on the affects of added sugar in their foods. Leah Brown RD, our Community Rethink Your Drink 1Nutritionist, presented a class, “Rethink Your Drink,” that gave attendees a closer look at how the added sugar in their foods and diets, specifically drinks, can affect their overall health.

Leah instructed students on how adding extra, unnecessary sugar into their daily diets through unhealthy drinks like soda, juice and sweetened iced teas can lead to weight gain, diabetes and a multitude of other health problems.

Rethink Your Drink 2Participants were asked to guess how many teaspoons of sugar were in various drinks and many were surprised at the high numbers. They then took part in a demonstration where they poured the teaspoons of sugar into plastic cups so they could visualize the amount. One student said after learning how much sugar was in 20 ounce bottle of soda, “I am never drinking soda again.”

The participants in the class gained a lot of knowledge and had many important takeaways. They learned that sugar should be limited to 10 teaspoons a day for adults and 8 teaspoons a day for children.

Participants discovered that sugar has other names like sucrose, dextrose, lactose, glycerol, xylitol, corn syrup and fructose corn syrup. So when reading the ingredients list, they should look out for those key terms. And if they see those key terms at the top of the ingredients list that means that sugar is a main ingredients, which is not good.

Participants also learned that foods that are low in fat and low in salt are not always healthier, because more sugar is often added to these foods to make them taste better. So participants should avoid those foods.

The class was an eye opening experience for many participants. Many already knew that soda, juice and sweetened ice teas were not good for them!

SNAP-Ed classes are offered multiple times throughout the month at community centers, churches, day care facilities, schools and other similar venues and targets SNAP recipients or SNAP eligible individuals.

For more information on SNAP-Ed classes or to schedule a session please click here.

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