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Chesapeake Utilities Corporation donates $30,000 towards Food Bank of Delaware “Thanksgiving for All” food distribution

Check presentationThanks to a $30,000 donation from Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, 1,000 families in Kent and Sussex Counties will have a hot Thanksgiving meal.

More than 200 families received a holiday meal box – containing a frozen turkey, all of the trimmings and a roasting pan — at a distribution at St. Bernadette’s Church in Harrington on Monday.  Another 325 families were served outside Chesapeake Utilities’ Dover office on South Queen Street on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, 300-plus families were served at Long Neck United Methodist Church in Millsboro. The remaining boxes will be distributed at a mobile pantry in Dover early next week.

Approximately 165 Chesapeake volunteers spent three days packaging holiday meals last week and three days assisting the Food Bank of Delaware with this week’s holiday distribution. In both rain and frigid temperatures, committed volunteers loaded grocery carts with holiday boxes and turkeys and helped recipients load their cars.

“We are pleased to partner with the Food Bank of Delaware to give back to our community by providing Thanksgiving meals for 1,000 local families,” said Michael P. McMasters, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. “This is just one way that we connect with our communities and it is something that our teams look forward to all year long.”

Chad Robinson, the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford branch director, expressed gratitude for Chesapeake Utilities Corporation’s ongoing generosity. “Thanks to this generous donation from Chesapeake Utilities, we can meet the needs of 1,000 families, our neighbors, throughout downstate Delaware. The kindness and community spirit shown by Chesapeake’s workplace team is proof of their dedication to help the communities in which they live and work,” he said.

One recipient who wished to remain anonymous said, “This is such a blessing. Your staff, volunteers and donors have given us this wonderful box of food. It was cold and windy, but everyone pushed on. From my family and myself, thank you and have a blessed Thanksgiving.”

In addition to the holiday food distribution, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation is also making funding available to ensure that the elderly, ill and those facing financial hardship are not forgotten during the cold winter months when energy bills are at their peak. Grants are available to income-eligible customers of Chesapeake Utilities and Sharp Energy with additional amounts available for those over the age of 60. Also, the SHARING program has additional grants for appliance purchases or repair; the recently unemployed; and customers who are in need due to serious illness or family tragedy. Learn more about SHARING at www.chpk.com/sharing.

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Harry K. Foundation, Food Bank of Delaware mark grand opening of Indian River School District school pantry at G.W. Carver Educational Center

Harry KThanks to a generous donation from the Harry K. Foundation, anti-hunger advocates officially cut the ribbon on the new school pantry at the G.W. Carver Educational Center this morning.

Funds were raised at last year’s Harry K. Christmas Ball. Support from the Harry K Foundation allowed the food bank to provide 103 children from Sussex County with a backpack full of food for the entire school year and to open nine new school pantries in Sussex County schools, including the one at G.W. Carver.

Through the program, at-risk families with students enrolled in the Indian River School District will be able to access emergency food and hygiene products by visiting the food pantry. The new pantry will offer a variety of nutritious food products and hygiene items. Families will select food based on their household’s needs each week. Food for the pantry will be provided by the Food Bank of Delaware and school-wide food drives or community donations.

“Hunger is all around us and it is our civic responsibility to feed our people,” said Harry K. Foundation Founder Harry Keswani. “We are happy to work in cooperation with the Food Bank of Delaware and our local schools to feed our children and their families. We ask our local people and business owners to join us by donating to the Harry K. Foundation so that we can bring food pantries to more schools.”

“According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study, 18.3 percent of Delaware’s children live in food insecure households,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We are thankful for the Harry K Foundation’s support to ensure that families in Sussex County have access to nutritious foods for their household.”

Child food insecurity is highest in Sussex County with 20.2 percent of children living in food insecure households.

“I am so happy that we have been able to open this and other pantries in our communities, but our task has only just begun,” said Harry K Foundation Spokesman Tim Buckmaster. “No child should go to bed hungry or worry about when the next meal may be. Together we can and will make a difference.”

“When our students’ basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are not being met, it is very difficult for them to excel at school and for their families to support their education at home,” said Indian River School District Superintendent Susan Bunting. Our district parent center was created to provide families with the tools they need to support student achievement – both academically and personally. The food pantry will be a great extension of these efforts and an important resource for our district families.”

The second annual Harry K Foundation Christmas Ball will be held on Saturday, December 6 at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club. Tickets are $250/person and can be purchased by visiting http://www.harrykfoundation.org/Harry-K-Foundation-Ball.html. Proceeds will help fight childhood hunger in Sussex County.

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Food Bank services credited with improved outlook on life

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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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!

 

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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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Chase presents $58,000 to Food Bank of Delaware in support of Culinary School

CheckChase presented a $58,000 donation to the Food Bank of Delaware yesterday at La Fia Bakery + Bistro + Market to help continue supporting The Culinary School, the Food Bank’s 14-week culinary employment training program.

The success of The Culinary School is dependent on both corporate and culinary partnerships. To highlight these partnerships, the check presentation was held at La Fia. Since opening its doors in the LOMA section of Wilmington in March, La Fia has played an active role in developing The Culinary School’s students. Most recently, Owner/Chef Brian Sikora hired Culinary School graduate Andrew Morley on a full-time basis.

“We are proud to support The Culinary School,” said Sikora. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know Andrew as an apprentice and now a full-time employee. Supporting our community is what we are all about at La Fia.”

“Small businesses are a key engine of job creation, and JPMorgan Chase helps connect small businesses – and local residents – with the resources they need to grow,” said Daryl Graham, Vice President, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We are proud partners to the Food Bank and First State Community Loan Fund because of their focus on growing our local economy and increasing job opportunities in the City of Wilmington.”

“We were happy to be able to offer a loan to La Fia, which provided some of their startup capital. They’ve been great borrowers,” said Vandell Hampton, President and CEO of First State Community Loan Fund. “Connecting with the Food Bank has been good for La Fia, as it has enabled them to identify top caliber employees as the business grows.”

Since its inception in 2002 The Culinary School has graduated close to 400 students. The mission of The Culinary School is two-fold. First, students are taught skills that are highly desirable to employers in the food industry. Second, these newly-developed skills have the potential to lead to jobs in the industry that provide job security and economic sustainability.

“We can always count on Chase to help ensure that Delawareans have the job skills training needed to find sustainable employment,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Thanks to their support we will be able to provide 10 Delawareans with scholarships to attend our training program. Our graduate, Andrew, was recently hired full-time here at La Fia. He is a great example of the wonderful opportunities that exist through our program.”

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Culinary Student Spotlight: Kevin Deler

Kevin TCS Class 37When Kevin Deler was a high school student at Mt. Pleasant High School, he visited The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware as part of a career exploration field trip.  His visit sparked his interest in the culinary arts. Since graduating high school in 2007, Kevin has worked in both the construction and dining services field.

After being laid off from his seasonal job in a dining hall this spring, Kevin was ready to expand his knowledge in the culinary field. He was accepted as a student at The Culinary School with full funding.

With aspirations of becoming a restaurant chef, Kevin is taking advantage of every opportunity he can through The Culinary School.

“Chef Nicole [Wilson] is a good instructor,” he says. “She has taught me a lot. A lot of terms that I needed to know out in the working world.”

Kevin and his classmates are getting an early start in a real working kitchen with their Monday internship experience. Every Monday, students spend the day in the kitchen of a local restaurant or food service provider. Kevin was lucky to land an internship at the new Westin Hotel in Wilmington.

Since starting his internship at the Wilmington Riverfront’s first and only hotel, Kevin has applied his classroom experience to a working kitchen. Techniques he learned in class, like mire poix and braising, are helping him in the Westin’s kitchen.

“At the Westin I have been prepping and working closely with Chef Chris,” Kevin explains. “He has been teaching me a lot.”

In addition to general prep work, Kevin is also assisting with banquet meals.  Once his 12 weeks of instruction at the Food Bank are complete, Kevin will intern at the Westin for a full two weeks. He and his classmates will graduate on Tuesday, September 9.

Kevin’s favorite dishes to prepare are steak and ribs and says the most valuable skills he has learned so far are knife skills and cooking techniques.

“The Culinary School has done a lot for me,” he says. “I am learning a lot. I am on the right track in terms of getting my goals together for my career. I want to become a chef, and I am taking the steps to do that.”

To learn more about The Culinary School, including information about becoming a student and supporting the program as an internship or employment site, please visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/.

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