There are many ways to help the Food Bank of Delaware alleviate hunger in the community. Whether you donate money and food, organize a food drive, spend time volunteering at our Newark or Milford warehouses or advocate on behalf of the hungry, every effort goes a long way in fighting hunger in our community.
Nick Jenner is one of thousands of Food Bank of Delaware volunteers who makes sure Delawareans at risk of hunger have enough to eat. Nick’s volunteer story is unique in that he volunteers his time by picking up donated baked goods from a local Panera Bread Restaurant. Sheila Ritchie, our Development Assistant, recently spoke with Nick to learn more about his experience with the Food Bank of Delaware and why a community free of hunger is important to him.
SR: How did you first become involved with the Food Bank of Delaware?
NJ: I became involved with the Food Bank of Delaware near the start of 2011, after seeing the efforts of my girlfriend’s mother, Pam Willis, who was collecting and dispersing surplus food through local church groups and ministries. I saw how much surplus food was potentially available for those in need, and knew what a huge difference getting it in the right hands could make, so I decided to pitch in and participate. I was familiar with the Food Bank as many of my friends and family had participated with the food bank as either donors or volunteers. One of the greatest influences on my relationship with the Food Bank was from the late James R. Soles and his wife Ada Leigh. Both had been long time supporters of the organization and even went so far as to request that gifts be sent in their honor following their passing. Such devotion from the community made it clear to me that the Food Bank of Delaware was a good place to become involved.
SR: What has been your experience with the Food Bank thus far?
NJ: Before I began donating and working with the Food Bank myself, I saw how much others believed in and supported the efforts of the Food Bank, and all of my experiences have supported their trust in the organization. My experiences with the Food Bank of Delaware’s staff and volunteers have always been positive, cooperative and supportive. It is always encouraging and even a bit surprising to see just how grateful the workers are for one’s contributions.
SR: What kinds of donations do you bring into the Food Bank?
NJ: My typical donation to the Food Bank consists of fresh bread, pastries and other baked goods at an average of around 100 pounds. When I am lucky, I have been able to bring in over 200 pounds in a day and on other occasions as little as 10 pounds- but each time it is good to know that with the Food Bank, I can be sure that is going to help people in need. I cannot thank Panera Bread enough for their continued support and cooperation, as the company’s generous commitment to the community and fighting hunger has made it possible for countless individuals across the country to be fed. In 2011 I was able to bring nearly 7,000 pounds of food to the Food Bank, all of which came from local Paneras.
SR: What does donating to the Food Bank mean to you?
NJ: Even in the best of times, all too many people have less than they need. With the tough times that even more people are experiencing now, it feels good to do what you can to help others. In tough times a little can mean a lot, and the satisfaction of helping others can be a joy like no other. To me, the Food Bank is a source of hope and sustenance for those less fortunate, and a great example of how much like minded people in a community can accomplish.
SR: What would you say to encourage others interested in donating food? What would you want them to know about your experience?
NJ: To those who are considering participating with and supporting the Food Bank of Delaware, I encourage them to act in any way they can, and pursue more involvement when possible. This can range from not only donations of food but of money, or time, which help keep the Food Bank operating and get the food to those in need. When it is hard to find the motivation to go take on another responsibility or activity, just considering the fact that there are people are relying on you, and benefiting immensely from your support is a force like no other. I have found faith in the Food Bank, trusting that every cent, every pound of food, and every minute of my time is well worth it. The Food Bank of Delaware serves this community more than could possibly be imagined.
To learn how you can help alleviate hunger in our community, please visit www.fbd.org.