Food Bank of Delaware honors outstanding contributors at annual dinner

Last night we celebrated the individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in our fight against hunger in Delaware. More than 150 supporters packed our Newark warehouse for an evening of entertainment from Pearl Street and a dinner prepared by students from The Culinary School. The evening closed with recognizing eight outstanding organizations/individuals. The following individuals/organizations were honored last night for their contributions to alleviating hunger in our state.

Community Work of the Year – Nancy Cueto: Nancy is dedicated to the mission of our organization. She plays a large role in ensuring that our programs are organized and that all paperwork is filed. We can’t serve Delawareans without the support of people like Nancy. She works out of the Milford Branch four days a week and ensures that all rosters and menus are printed for our After-School Nutrition sites, counts returned rosters to ensure accuracy, updates names on the roster for the Department of Education and more. She also assists the SNAP Outreach and Education programs. Nancy is committed, passionate and always going the extra mile!

Group Volunteer of the Year – Capital One: To date this fiscal year, 292 Capital One volunteers have donated 931 hours of their time at our Newark warehouse. From packing bags full of food for our Backpack Program to sorting food and creating meal boxes for our Senior Nutrition Program, Capital One volunteers can always be counted on to help us feed hungry Delawareans. In 2012, the company (then ING DIRECT) spent its Orange Days of Caring by donating $20,000 to the Backpack Program and volunteering to create 500 school supply kits and more than 2,500 food bags for the program. Volunteers also spent many hours collecting food for its large pecan pie slice made entirely of cans for our 2012 DelawareCAN competition.

Board Member of the Year – Julie Miro Wenger: Julie Miro Wenger is Executive Director of the Delaware Food Industry Council and has played an important role in heightening awareness of our organization within local grocer circles and the general public. She serves as Chairwoman of the Anti-Hunger Coalition and helped orchestrate the very successful Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service Conference in April 2013. Julie is also responsible for organizing the Parade to Fight Hunger, the official opening of the Wilmington Grand Prix. As part of Wilmington Grand Prix weekend, Julie organizes the Chase Challenge, an event sponsored by JPMorgan Chase. Julie goes above and beyond as a board member. She is an advocate for a community free of hunger!

Corporate Donor of the Year – Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware stepped up to support the Food Bank’s Milford Branch expansion project. This year the organization committed $250,000 to cover more than half of the expenses to outfit the new kitchen with equipment. The Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware Culinary School Training Kitchen will be used to prepare meals for children in after-school and summer nutrition programs in Kent and Sussex counties and also house The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware. The funding from Highmark results from its BluePrints for the Community commitment, a grant program to help address the issues faced by Delaware’s uninsured and underserved populations.

Food Donor of the Year – Delaware National Guard: Back in 2008 the Delaware National Guard declared a “War on Hunger” here in the First State. The initiative was spearheaded by Major General Frank Vavala, and since its inception, the servicemen, women and their families have collected more than 20 tons of food for hungry Delawareans. Last spring the Delaware National Guard partnered with First Lady Carla Markell to open the food drive to members of the public during her week of service. The Delaware National Guard has demonstrated ithat it is committed to Delawareans through their efforts not only on the international front, but locally as well. We are thankful for their sacrifices to protect our freedom, but also their commitment to our vision of a community free of hunger.

Advocate of the Year – John McMahon, Department of Labor: Department of Labor Secretary John McMahon has played an important role in the success of The Culinary School. Since the school’s inception in 2002, the Department of Labor has been a major source of funding and student referrals. Over the past two fiscal years the Department of Labor has provided more than $152,000 in student funding. In November 2012, Secretary McMahon served as keynote speakers for the 31st graduating class. He praised the graduates for their commitment to furthering their educations. In addition, to his work advocating on behalf of The Culinary School, Secretary McMahon also makes it a priority for his department to support the Food Bank in other efforts.

Partner of the Year – Bayshore: The team at Bayshore is always dependable. One call from the Food Bank is all it takes for them to assist with fulfilling our mission. Bayshore goes above and beyond the call of duty. In May 2012, Bayshore provided tractors, trailers, drivers and logistical support for the annual Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carriers food drive. Because of their help, we were able to greatly reduce our expense for this annual food drive. Bayshore will step up again for the 2013 drive on Saturday, May 11. In Fall 2012, Bayshore stepped up to deliver much needed supplies to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in northern New Jersey and New York City. We are thankful for the support Bayshore provides as a logistical partner. We can’t do all that we do without their support!

Legislator of the Year – Representative Ed Osienski: State Representative Ed Osienski has been supportive of the Food Bank long before becoming an elected official. Since the election, Representative Osienski has advocated on behalf of hungry Delawareans in Legislative Hall. He is supportive of legislation that impacts low-income populations, and in May 2012, he hosted our staff at legislative hall for a legislative day. Representive Osienski sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 49 recognizing our commitment to ending hunger in the First State. He also serves as a member of the Delaware Anti-Hunger Coalition, organizes volunteer opportunities for members of the Delaware House and conducts food drives and mobile pantries throughout the year.

Thank you to all who support the Food Bank of Delaware and our vision of a community free of hunger! Check out some photos from last night’s event!

 

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