We are thankful to be able to say that 2012 was a good year at the Food Bank of Delaware! 2012 ushered in new programs and initatives to meet the needs of Delawareans struggling to put meals on the table! Check out our accomplishments in 2012!
January: January marked the opening of our first school pantry in Kent County at Lake Forest High School. We were honored that First Lady Carla Markell and other local officials joined us for a grand opening celebration. In addition to the local officials, kindergarten students from the district sang for the audience and toured the new food closet. Their class collected the most food as part of the Battle of the Belly food drive!
February: We are constantly amazed by how generous our community is. We were thrilled to learn in February that we were awarded a brand-new refrigerated truck from Walmart! The truck travels throughout the state picking up fresh donations from local retailers like Walmart. The new truck is valued at $90,000. In addition to the new truck, Walmart has also donated $75,000 to the Backpack Program. The funding allowed us to provide 378 children with weekend and holiday food for an entire school year.
March: In March a local egg donor, who wished to remain anonymous, donated 129,600 eggs to the Food Bank – just in time for the Easter holiday! The donation was part of a national effort organized by the United Egg Distributors. We also launched our SNAP Outreach program in March. Through the program, our SNAP Outreach team educates individuals, who are eligible, about the benefits of the program. They also conduct application assistance throughout the state.
April: April was a busy month at the Food Bank of Delaware. We started the month by attending the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Awards dinner in Dover where Food Bank of Delaware volunteer Chris Willis was honored. We closed out the month by honoring 12 Food Bank of Delaware supporters who go above and beyond to help those struggling with hunger! Among the honorees were former Congressman Mike Castle, who serves as Honorary Chairman of our Milford Branch capital campaign.
May: The busyness didn’t stop in May. Several events kept our staff busy throughout the month. We marked a $125,000 donation from JPMorgan Chase with an event at Bancroft Elementary. The funding was used to start three school pantries at Stubbs, Bancroft and Palmer Elementaries and provide weekend and holiday food to children in New Castle County through the Backpack Program.
In partnership with the National Association of Letter Carriers we held our most successful Stamp Out Hunger! postal food drive ever. We collected more than 202,000 pounds of food in one day!
The annual Wilmington Grand Prix took place in May with the Parade to Fight Hunger kicking off the Saturday bike races. The last day of the weekend event featured Delaware’s first-ever Gran Fondo bike ride. The 62-mile bike ride took riders throughout some of New Castle County’s most scenic properties. We also spent a day in May at Legislative Hall educating our elected officials about hunger in Delaware. Representative Ed Osienski sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 49 during the afternoon legislative session recognizing the Food Bank of Delaware’s commitment to ending hunger in the First State.
June: We celebrated our 30th graduating class of The Culinary School in June. Robert Egger, Founder of the DC Central Kitchen and author of Begging for Change, addressed the students and praised them for changing lives. “You all have already changed lives by making the choice to come here,” he said. “You don’t have to choose between making money and doing good, you can do both.”
July: Food Bank of Delaware staff members were able to spend a day at the Delaware State Fair in July as part of Food Lion’s first-ever Hunger Relief Day! With a donation of four Food Lion-brand canned goods, attendees received free admittance to the fair. In one day we collected more than 15,000 pounds of food!
August: We were excited to host ING Direct’s Orange Day of Caring in August. ING Direct donated $10,000 to provide school supplies and weekend bags full of food for kids through the Backpack Program. In addition to providing the funding, volunteers spent the day packing school supplies and food bags for at-risk children. We held our fourth annual Evening in the Garden at the University of Delaware Garden for the Community in August. The annual event celebrates the bounty of the garden! In total more than 16,000 pounds was collected this growing season!
September: It looks like every month in 2012 was a busy one at the Food Bank of Delaware! In September we held our first Dinner in the Orchard at T.S. Smith & Sons in Bridgeville. The evening featured fresh foods from local farmers and growers, wine and beer from local wineries and breweries, live entertainment and carriage rides through T.S. Smith & Sons’ farm! We also broke ground on our Milford Branch expansion project in September. Capital Campaign Honorary Chairman Mike Castle, Senator Tom Carper and other local dignitaries joined us for the ceremonial ground breaking.
October: Our warehouse was transformed into a Roaring 20s speakeasy in October for our annual Blue Jean Ball. Guests arrived dressed as flappers and gangsters and enjoyed an evening of fine foods from The Culinary School, entertainment from Strangers, beer and wine and a silent auction. Later in the month our panel of DelawareCAN judges visited 14 build sites to choose the best can structures! More than 30,000 pounds of food were collected through the competition!
November: The Environmental Protection Agency held a joint event at the Food Bank on National Recycle Day to announce that the Food Bank and the Kenny Family ShopRites will work together through the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge to divert and donate as much of the five Delaware grocery stores’ excess food as possible. Leaders from Bank of America joined us just before the Thanksgiving holiday to distribute Thanksgiving boxes to local organizations who feed the hungry. In honor of the Thanksgiving season, Banko America presented $35,000 for the capital campaign. In addition, they announced that the bank will provide a two-for-one match of donations to Feeding America’s holiday “Give a Meal” program.
December: In partnership with the Food Bank, the Colonial School District announced earlier this month that it now has six in-school pantries for district families. Colonial is the only district in the entire state with this many school pantries! Chesapeake Utilities announced this week an $18,000 gift to the Food Bank to sponsor two holiday food distributions. Six-hundred families from Kent and Sussex Counties received assistance through the program.
Thank you to all for making 2012 such a successful year at the Food Bank of Delaware! We are truly appreciative of our community’s support! Happy Holidays! Here’s to a hunger-free 2013!