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End of Summer Blog

by Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Interning at the Food Bank of Delaware has been one of the more unique experiences in my life. The definition of the “Communications Intern” is a broader job description than I originally thought, but it turned out to make this summer interesting and eye-opening in the best way possible. Between the blogs I wrote, the places I visited, and the people I met, I’ve learned about so many different things this summer that I never even knew existed.

Going into my first day at the Food Bank of Delaware, I was only expecting to learn about the different aspects of the Communications field. My boss, Kim Turner, did an awesome job showing me all the different aspects of marketing, promotion and communications. Between learning how to work with Adobe programs like InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, and writing multiple different blogs of my own throughout the summer, I have picked up computer and writing skills that I not only wanted to learn, but needed to learn. While all of these skills were awesome to learn, I think the coolest part about my job were the field trips we went on throughout Delaware.

My more valuable experiences as the Communication Intern came from our trips to different sites. Kim and I traveled almost every week, and we went to different places to view our distribution sites, Grab and Go programs, and even to the other branch of the Food Bank. Between going to Wilmington, other places in Newark, and travelling downstate, my experiences enlightened me thoroughly on how present hunger is not only in the state of Delaware, but throughout our country.

My experience here at the Food Bank was not only important in learning skills for my career path in the future, but also contained the priceless experiences I wouldn’t have been a part of anywhere else. I would like to say thank you to the Food Bank of Delaware for this opportunity, and for not only equipping me with the tools to move forward in my career, but for also making this internship a once in a lifetime experience!

 

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Grab and Go Spotlight: Sparrow Run

By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Hunger in our community is prevalent, especially during the summer months when school is not in session. For thousands of Delaware kids, meals served at school are sometimes their only source of nutritious food. Now that the school year is over, so are these meals. Fortunately, Giant Food has sponsored our Grab and Go summer meal program that allows children to pick up their meals and take them home to enjoy.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit Sparrow Run, a neighborhood in Bear. Child Inc. runs the Sparrow Run Grab and Go program and provides services to at-risk children and their families.

CHILD Inc. Program Manager Victoria Schetrom organizes the meal program at Sparrow Run. She says she is known as the “lunch lady” of the neighborhood!

One-hundred-eighty-four kids pick up breakfast and lunch each weekday between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The kids love the Grab and Go format because they are able to eat their lunch at home versus sitting at the community center’s outdoor picnic table. (As you can imagine, some days are just simply too hot for an outside meal!)

When we visited Sparrow Run both kids and their parents were lined up to pick up their meals. A reusable insulated bag was provided by the Food Bank at the beginning of the program, and each day, kids return with their bag to receive their next round of meals. Coolers line Child Inc.’s driveway and a dedicated youth volunteer and a Child Inc. employee distribute the meals, a breakfast and lunch for each participant.

Just by looking at the faces of the kids, I could tell they love picking up their Grab and Go meals. In addition to distributing meals, Child Inc. also provides a great environment for families of Sparrow Run and surrounding communities on Route 40 in Bear.

Thank you, Giant, for making the Grab and Go meal program possible!

To learn how we are serving the needs of children this summer, please visit http://www.fbd.org/program/children%e2%80%99s-nutrition-program/sfsp/

 

 

 

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Growing Fresh Produce at Penn Farm

By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

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As we all know, fruits and vegetables are a very important part of our daily diet. Unfortunately, for many families across the state, accessing produce proves to be difficult. Thanks to our partnership with Penn Farm and other local farmers, that will hopefully change.

According to Delaware Greenway’s website, “the Historic Penn Farm is a 310 year old, 112-acre private urban land trust of the Trustees of the New Castle Common, managed by Delaware Greenways, Inc.”

In addition to the plot of land tended by volunteers and staff from the Food Bank, William Penn High School students also have a plot of land that they tend to.

According to Dan Reyes, Coalition to End Hunger Coordinator here at the Food Bank, the main goal of Penn Farm is to “improve and increase role of produce in distribution.” He adds that the Food Bank is working to create dynamic, sustainable partnerships with food pantries in the area by donating fresh produce grown on the farm.

Operations at Penn Farm are currently in their first year. The farm is modeled after a program at the Chester County Food Bank, where their main focus is getting fresh produce out into the community.

Our plot of land consists of many different types of produce, including cabbage, kale, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, beets, watermelon and cucumbers. All of the work is done by a team of volunteers and our Agriculture Intern, Sara Somers. Last week alone, volunteers harvested 125 pounds of cabbage and kale. Peppers will be ready next for harvesting.

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The produce grown at Penn Farm is helping us gain experience in storing our own produce, as well as providing Delawareans in need the opportunity to receive fresh, locally-grown produce. This farm helps us, as well as community members, think about hunger on a larger scale and how it is connected with farming and agriculture. Concepts like Penn Farm and community produce donations

really do help in improving the healthy diets of those in need.

To view volunteer opportunities at Penn Farm, please click here, to learn more about donating produce, please click here.049058

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Partner Spotlight: Zion Lutheran Church

By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

As the Communications Intern for the Food Bank of Delaware, my boss and I take field trips every sooften so I can see the different aspects of how the Food Bank of Delaware works and serves our community. On Tuesday, Kim and I visited the food pantry at Zion Lutheran Church in Wilmington. Zion’s food pantry is operated by our partner,Lutheran Community Services.

The food pantry is a well-oiled machine run by Minnie McGuire.  As the coordinator, she manages the back office, the kitchen pantry and the client interactions. When I arrived, they were in the midst of distribution. I first met Minnie and Sandy Betley, Programs Director for Lutheran Community Services.

Minnie says Zion serves people of all different backgrounds. Many are seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Volunteer Anne assists Minnie in the office by taking phone calls from referring agencies, managing the incoming paperwork, and keeping track of the clients served.

Anne has been volunteering with the food pantry for more than 10 years and remembers shopping at the local grocery store in order to stock the shelves of the pantry. Thanks to Zion’s partnership with Lutheran Community Services at the Food Bank of Delaware, they are able to use the resources of both agencies to make sure their clients’ needs are met.

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“I do it because I think I am helping people,” she says.

After learning more about how Zion handles paperwork, we proceeded to the kitchen where I met Richard, who was the only volunteer available to pack bags full of household food staples. Richard and his wife utilize food assistance services, and he told me that he loves volunteering at the Zion Food Pantry. He said, “After all they’ve done for me, this is how I can give back.”

From my visit, I learned that each food closet of the Food Bank of Delaware operates differently. Some pantries provide pre-packed bags or boxes, while others provide families with the opportunity to choose from a variety of items.

At Zion, clients must sign in upon arrival. Clients are referred to Zion from local organizations
and state agencies. Referral papers are organized in the office and then brought back to the kitchen, where bags are stocked with the required groceries that meet the clients’ needs. Their food is delivered to them in the main lobby, and their name is checked off in the book after they sign a release form that they have received their food.

While in the waiting area for the clients, Kim and I encountered a young woman named Lisa, and she told us her story. Lisa is a single mother of three children. Unfortunately, her children’s father does not help to support the kids.  She has been in and out of school, trying to complete a degree in psychology, while supporting her children. Lisa also told us that the summer is the most difficult time for affording food, because her children are home and out of school. Providing two extra meals each day during the summer adds an extra expense to her household budget.

“My job is to stress out,” she explains.  “My kids’ job is to go out and get a good education and live a better life than I do. I do the struggle for them
, by walking to the food pantry.”

Lisa says there have been times when she has skipped meals in order to provide her children a full nutritious meal.

Visiting the Zion Food Pantry in Wilmington was a very enlightening experience and shows the important role the Food Bank of Delaware and its network of partners play in the community.

If you are in need of emergency food assistance or know someone in need, please dial 2-1-1 for Delaware 2-1-1. They will refer callers to a local organization that can assist.

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Christmas In July at Boscov’s

christmasinjuly-santa-drinking1By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

This summer, the Food Bank of Delaware is partnering with Boscov’s department stores all over the state to help families in need. From July 1st – July 31st Boscov’s department stores located in the Dover Mall, Concord Mall and Christiana Towne Center will be hosting a Christmas in July food drive to benefit families and children in need during this upcoming summer season.

This food drive was started to help children in need who do not have access to the meals that they need and would be receiving during the regular school day. This has become a major focus for us here at the Food Bank during the summer months.

Boscov’s will be accepting donations of canned or non-perishable food items, as well as toiletries at the courtesy desks within any of the mentioned Boscov’s locations. Specific items needed include coffee, juice, spaghetti, pasta, rice, macaroni & cheese dinners, instant potatoes, breakfast cereal, peanut butter & jelly, sugar, flour, oil, pancake mix & syrup, laundry and dish detergents, spaghetti sauce, canned fruits vegetables, canned meats such as tuna, ham and chicken, stew and pasta meals, soup, beans, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving products, soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, paper towels and tissues.

For more information about the food drive, call Sarah Haas, Regional Public Relations Manager at (610) 565-6009 and ask for Public Relations, or email her at shaas@boscovs.com.

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Reflecting on my internship

By Mackenzie Rowe, Communications Intern

I have really enjoyed interning at the Food Bank of Delaware for the past few months. I now have a deeper understanding of how vital the Food Bank is to the success of the community.  FBD does so much more than distribute food. The variety of programs offered here, such as The Culinary School, SNAP-ed and the Mobile Pantry, show how connected FBD is to its vision of a hunger free Delaware. These programs prove that FBD understands how intertwined social issues, such as poverty and education level, are to hunger. Instead of simply distributing food, FBD provides hope for participants in these programs. I think that my time at the Food Bank has shown me how to realistically create social change. These issues may seem very difficult to fix when looking at the big picture, but change is accomplished one person at a time. Positivity has the potential to spread quickly if the foundation is there. That is exactly what FBD attempts to do, to give struggling Delawareans the necessary foundation to create a better future.  

This experience has given me a glimpse into the non-profit sector. Throughout my internship I have been exposed to many different programs, meetings, events and people. This exposure has allowed me to gain knowledge about the structure of FBD. As an indecisive college student, my career goals change frequently. This internship has given me some direction. I have learned about jobs that I had no idea existed. Although I am still not sure where I will end up working, it is comforting to know that there are more options for rewarding careers than I had previously thought. My favorite part of the internship has been getting to know the employees at FBD. Their humility is inspiring and I know that I will remember that mentality as I consider what I would like to do after graduation. I have truly learned the importance of having an intrinsically rewarding job. This lesson will stay with me as I navigate my way through the world post-graduation.

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Culinary Spotlight: Linda Coleman

By Mackenzie Rowe, Communications Intern

photoThe Culinary School’s 35th class started their program on October 7th. Among the new group of students, is 51 year old Linda Coleman. After reading about The Culinary School in the News Journal, Linda decided to apply. At first she was reluctant to make such a big career change, but after coming in for an interview and hearing more about the program her worries subsided.

Linda has a wide range of experience. In the 80’s, she worked as a head waitress at a restaurant. This is her only previous experience with the food industry. After that, she spent sixteen years working in the banking industry, purchasing limited partnerships and working with investments and liabilities. Then, she was employed as a representative of a medical billing company. Since she has only seen the restaurant business from the outside, Linda is eager to learn about the production of food. She explained, “So far, I have lived life as a consumer. I am excited to move from a consumer to a producer.” Another favorite part of the program for her is getting to know her classmates and seeing all of their unique talents. “I try not to mother them too much,” she said with a laugh.

“I love the way that Chef talks about real life situations.” Linda told me, “When I look back at my neighborhood, I wish that we had a program like this closer. I do believe that it could be a crime prevention technique.”

Outside of the classroom, Linda loves spending time with her family. She is grandmother! She also loves to travel and, of course, eat new foods while exploring. Some of her favorite places include: Manhattan, New Orleans, Charleston and the Dominican Republic. Regardless of location, her favorite meal is a Caesar salad, chicken fettuccini and tiramisu, with a glass of moscato to wash it all down. After graduation, Linda hopes to open her own kitchenette to serve breakfast and lunch in her neighborhood.

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