By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator
Maybe we could do a better job communicating what the Food Bank of Delaware does and what we’re all about? I say this as a member of the communications team, and because I frequently encounter people who think we simply hand out food and that’s that.
So I’m here to dispel three myths about the Food Bank of Delaware:
- The mission of the Food Bank of Delaware is to give food to hungry people. Yes, and no! Our mission is to eliminate hunger in Delaware, but our distribution system is supported by community partners, 620 hunger-relief program partners statewide. So, people can’t just walk into one of our warehouses and walk out with a bag full of food.
Our partners, churches, schools and non-profit agencies, regularly distribute food to families who meet specific income criteria.
We have a program which provides a meal box of food each month to senior citizens, and at Thanksgiving, our clients receive a holiday meal during a special distribution. For those who are in need of emergency food assistance, we always refer them to Delaware 2-1-1, Delaware’s Health and Social Services helpline. The team at Delaware 2-1-1 can refer callers to local organizations that can assist with not only emergency food assistance, but also utility bills, housing and more.
- Thanksgiving is our busiest time of year. Definitely not! Yes, we’re quite busy just before Thanksgiving and Christmas, but summer is our most demanding season. Surprised? During the summer, we have special programs that focus on the needs of children. Think about it: students aren’t in school and don’t have access to breakfast and lunch served in those cafeterias. So we have a very active Summer Food Service Program, one that delivers breakfast, lunch and dinners to sites up and down the state. The food is distributed to children through child-care centers, libraries, community centers, apartment complexes, and churches neighborhoods and more!
And there’s another level of community involvement in the summer: these programs, like most of ours, rely heavily on volunteers. Volunteers pack meals, help with clerical duties, cleaning out coolers, and many more jobs most people never see or think about.
- The Food Bank deals only with shelf-stable food. No! Sure we distribute plenty of canned goods, peanut butter, tuna, and pasta, but the Food Bank is so much more than that.
We help clients gain access to fresh produce, teach people how to garden, either individually or in communities, and also offer cooking classes for children and seniors. In addition, we offer financial literacy support in the $tand by Me program, and we assist people in accessing support programs, including SNAP. We are very proud of our two Culinary Schools that train people for employment in the food service industry.
The list of programs is long, and it’s growing. Each one is led by trained, educated, competent people committed to our mission.
So, if you think the Food Bank is limited to providing a helping hand at the holidays, be assured, we’re working hard all year ‘round.
Check us out at http://www.fbd.org.
Here’s a look at how our food distribution system works!