WOW! 2010 flew! Can you believe we’re a little over a week from ringing in 2011? 2010 was another good year at the Food Bank of Delaware, thanks to the generosity of our community! However, the year was marked with increases in demand. Our hunger-relief partners reported seeing new faces in line – those who once donated their food, money and time are now depending on emergency food assistance.
Check out just some of our highlights of 2010!
January: Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one of our busiest days for volunteers at the Food Bank! On January 18, 2010 we had more than 150 volunteers spend time with us for a national day of service. A large group of students from Sanford School in Hockessin was one of many groups. In addition, they brought a sizeable donation of food!
February: In early February we released new statistics on the number of Delawareans in need of emergency food assistance. The study, a partnership with the Feeding America network of food banks and Mathematica Policy Research, revealed that 241,600 Delawareans depend on emergency assistance. The findings represent an increase of 153,200 people since the findings reported in Hunger in America 2006.
March: After hearing that the Food Bank of Delaware and United Way of Delaware were short of meeting their Delaware Does More campaign goal of 400,000 pounds of food, Giant Food stepped up in a big way. On March 1, the local grocer delivered more than 50,000 pounds of food in two tractor trailers! Thanks to their generosity Delaware Does More surpassed its goal.
April: We celebrated the dedication of our volunteers with Volunteer Appreciation Week in April. With more than 15,000 volunteers – our volunteers are really the heart and soul of our organization! When we add up all of the hours they contribute we have an additional 22 full-time staff members! We couldn’t possible feed so many people without our dedicated army of volunteers!
May: May was a busy month at the Food Bank! Two notable events took place and we couldn’t just pick one! In the beginning of the month we announced our new partnership with the state of Delaware. Thanks to generous funding from AstraZeneca and the Acierno Family Foundation we have fully-operating food closets in all of the state service centers. All food is purchased by the Food Bank, volunteers staff the closets and our drivers deliver all of the product.
At the end of the month we had the opportunity to participate in the Wilmington Grand Prix. The first-ever Anti-Hunger Parade kicked off the annual bike race! Food Bank staff, hunger-relief partners and other groups from the community marched down Market Street in Wilmington to show our commitment to a hunger-free state. Following the parade was the inaugural Miles for Meals relay race. Three food bank teams participated in the mile relay race!
June: We held our second annual Chicken Heist Barbeque on June 17. The annual event serves as an opportunity for us to thank the community for their continued support in helping to alleviate hunger in the First State. Last year we decided to commemorate the theft with a barbeque to thank those who stepped up during our time of need. Our guests had such a great time that we’ve decided to make it a free annual event to thank all of those who support us.
July: In partnership with our friends at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources we held our first “Harvest to Home” mobile pantry. Students from our Culinary School spent the morning of July 30 harvesting 1,305 pounds of fresh produce from the University of Delaware’s Garden for the Community. Once they finished harvesting they loaded a food bank van and headed to Sparrow Run Park in Bear where they distributed fresh produce, 30-pound meal boxes, chicken and other food items to 715 individuals.
August: In early August we announced good news – Chase donated a state-of-the-art truck! The truck is being used to pick up food donations, drop off food to our network of 440 Hunger-Relief Program Partners and for our mobile pantry program.
September: In September we celebrated the accomplishments of our 25th graduating class of The Culinary School. Students spent 10 weeks with our Chef Instructor, Tara, learning both basic and high-end kitchen skills and developing their skills in resume writing, interviewing, financial literacy and more.
October: In early October we celebrated Peace, Love, End Hunger with our annual Blue Jean Ball! The warehouse was transformed into a space reminiscent of the pyschedelic days. Attendees danced the night away to the sounds of Strangers and enjoyed a menu of retro favorites and a silent auction. Close to $80,000 was raised for our hunger-relief efforts.
November: In November we hosted two Thanksgiving mobile pantries to ensure that area families had plenty to eat for the Thanksgiving holiday. In Newark our newly-elected state representative, Ed Osienski, joined us for the distribution, and, in Milford, we were lucky enough to have State Representatives Jack Peterman and Darryl Scott join us! More than 500 households were served through the two distributions.
December: We ended the year on a high note with an exciting kickoff to our capital campaign to expand our branch in Milford. Senator Tom Carper, Congressman-elect Mike Castle and State Representatives Darryl Scott, Harvey Kenton and Jack Peterman joined us as we announced plans to nearly double the size of our current facility. Be on the look out for more information in the new year.
From all us at the Food Bank of Delaware, thank you for another successful year of providing much-needed services for Delawareans in need. Best wishes for a happy holiday and a healthy 2011!