Category Archives: Advocate

School Breakfast Challenge Wrap-Up

By Chad Robinson, Milford Branch Director

It’s the last week of class for many Delaware students, and we are proud to announce that this past year many schools have made great strides to increase participation in school breakfast!

Last May, we issued our first school breakfast report. This report highlighted the current state of school breakfast programs across Delaware, while presenting opportunities for advancement and opportunities. The report indicated challenges to increasing school breakfast as:

  1. Lack of administrative support and a sense of resigning to “business as usual”
  2. Resistance from teachers who fear that it will affect their schedules, their classrooms and their instructional time
  3. A belief amongst custodians that breakfast in the classroom will lead to an increased workload beyond their means
  4. A lack of awareness amongst parents and the general public as to the importance of breakfast and its easy availability in schools

In response to the findings from the report, we launched our first School Breakfast Challenge. Our goal was to highlight best practice schools and distribute $20,000 in cash grants to schools that are striving to increase participation through innovation.

Cash incentives were available in the following categories:

  • District School with the Highest Overall Participation in School Breakfast
  • District School with the Highest Participation Increase in School Breakfast (10/13 to 10/14)
  • Charter/Single Unit with the Highest Overall Participation in School Breakfast
  • Charter/Single Unit with the Highest Participation Increase in School Breakfast (10/13 to 10/14)

At last month’s Coming Together: A Community Response to Hunger conference, the monetary awards were presented to the winning schools. In partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, Seaford High School won the top prize, a $3,000 cash award and a visit from retired NFL player Sean Landeta! Landeta spent time talking to students about healthy eating, exercising and doing the right thing. At the conclusion of his remarks he signed autographs and showed off his two Super Bowl rings!

Congratulations to all of the winners of our first-ever School Breakfast Challenge!

District Highest Participation Overall:

  1. New Castle Elementary School $3,000
  2. Stubbs Elementary $2,000
  3. West Seaford Elementary $1,500
  4. Seaford Middle School $500

District Highest Increase in Participation from 2013-2014:

  1. Seaford High School $3,000
  2. Stanton Middle School $2,000
  3. Frederick Douglass $1,500
  4. Blades Elementary $500

Charter/Single Unit Highest Participation Overall:

  1. Academy of Dover $3,000

Charter/Single Unit Highest Increase in Participation from 2013-2014:

  1. Family Foundations Academy $3,000

Congratulations to all of our winners!

District Highest Participation Overall:  First place - New Castle Elementary School

District Highest Participation Overall: First place – New Castle Elementary School

District Highest Participation Overall: Second Place - Stubbs Elementary

District Highest Participation Overall: Second Place – Stubbs Elementary

District Highest Participation Overall: Third Place - West Seaford Elementary

District Highest Participation Overall: Third Place – West Seaford Elementary

District Highest Participation Overall: Fourth Place - Seaford Middle School

District Highest Participation Overall: Fourth Place – Seaford Middle School

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): First Place - Seaford High School

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): First Place – Seaford High School

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Second Place - Sanford Middle School

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Second Place – Sanford Middle School

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Third Place - Frederick Douglass Elementary

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Third Place – Frederick Douglass Elementary

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Fourth Place - Blades Elementary

District Highest Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Fourth Place – Blades Elementary

Charter/Single Unit Highest Participation Overall: Academy of Dover

Charter/Single Unit Highest Participation Overall: Academy of Dover

Charter/Single Unit Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Family Foundations Academy

Charter/Single Unit Increase in Participation (2013-2014): Family Foundations Academy

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Entries for Coming Together Multimedia Creative Challenge due April 3

The Food Bank of Delaware and Brae’s Brown Bags’ are encouraging Delaware students to use their creativity to help spark community change. Entries for the first-ever Coming Together Multimedia Creative Challenge are due April 3.

Delaware students in grades 1-12 are able to submit posters, YouTube videos (students over the age of 13) and essays (5th-12th graders) focusing on food insecurity, food recovery/food waste and healthy eating.

Finalists’ entries will be on display at the Coming Together conference, Delaware’s first anti-hunger conference for both adults and children, on Monday, May 4.

Prizes will be given to the top three selections in each design theme category and in each age group. Age groups will be divided into elementary (1-4), middle school (5-8) and high school (9-12 grades). Each finalist will be awarded a prize, certificate and the honor of their entry being displayed at a statewide conference.

“I think want I want most out of the conference and this design challenge is for kids to think about what it really means to be hungry,” said 11-year-old Braeden Mannering, founder of Brae’s Brown Bags. “I want them to imagine how it feels and how we can fix it if we all work together. For me it is to help all people have a chance to eat healthy. I want kids to know they don’t need a cape to be a super hero. Sometimes you just need the right pen or colored pencil or just the right creative idea. I want to see the kids in Delaware, all ages, join forces to fight hunger.”

Mannering, along with a panel of community members, will be judging the entries based on originality, artistic merit and expression of the theme. Only one entry per student and each entry must be the work of only one student. Artist signatures or initials are only allowed on the back of the poster. Each entry must be accompanied by a signed release form.

“We are so thrilled to be partnering with Braeden. Braeden shows that regardless of age, we can all make a difference. We are hoping that other students will follow Braeden’s lead and work to make impactful change in our community.”

Complete rules for the Coming Together Multimedia Challenge can be found at http://www.fbd.org/comingtogethercontest/. Tickets for the May 4 conference are on sale. Adult tickets are $40 until April 17; tickets increase to $50 after the 17th. For more information about the conference, visit www.fbd.org/comingtogether.

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School Breakfast Spotlight: Wilbur Elementary

This morning several of our staff members joined State Senator Nicole Poore and representatives from the Colonial School District to see firsthand their successful school breakfast program at Wilbur Elementary.

As students filtered off the busses, they headed straight to the cafeteria to grab a healthy breakfast. Students were greeted by smiling teachers, cafeteria personnel, Colonial School District Superintendent Dr. Dusty Blakey, Principal Beth Howell and others. As students lined up in the cafeteria, they chose from a variety of breakfast options – milk and juice, yogurt, bagels, fruit, cereal, banana bread and more! Kindergarten classrooms receive their breakfast in a basket. A student helper stops by the cafeteria and delivers the basket to the classroom.

Since all Wilbur students receive free breakfast and lunch meals as a result of the Community Eligibility Provision, no cash transactions took place; cafeteria workers simply tallied the number of meals served with a clicker. Plastic bags were available for students to carry their nutritious breakfasts back for consumption in the classroom.

The team at Wilbur Elementary showed us how easy implementation of an alternative breakfast model is with a dedicated team of teachers, cafeteria personnel, custodial staff and administrators! Kids were in and out of the cafeteria in no time.

Back in the classroom, while kids ate breakfast, teachers engaged students in instructional time. Kindergarten students ate quietly as they sat around a table, first graders ate breakfast while singing a song to help with a lesson and fourth graders began working on the day’s assignments as they enjoyed milk, cereal, fruit and bagels. Breakfast did not impede on the day’s plans, and all students started the day with a full belly ready to tackle the day’s assignments.

To help with cleanup, each classroom has a trash can for disposal. After breakfast, custodial staff travel the hallways to pick up the bags. Each can is replaced with a new bag, and the can becomes the classroom recycling bin. The staff at Wilbur showed that breakfast can be as easy as 1-2-3!

Colonial School Nutrition Supervisor Paula Angelucci says feeding kids is a priority in the Colonial School District. “It’s all about the kids,” she says. Paula credits the success of the breakfast program to a team of dedicated administrators. In order for breakfast to work, administrative buy-in is crucial, she explains.

To help increase statewide participation, we announced our first-ever School Breakfast Challenge last spring. The challenge is an opportunity for schools making major gains in breakfast participation to win cash awards for their performance.

Thanks to a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Education, ten awards ranging from $3,000 to $500 will be made available to eight district schools and two charter or nonpublic schools. The cash grants will be awarded to the school with the highest breakfast participation in October 2014 and the most-improved breakfast participation from October 2013 to October 2014. Winners will be announced in early 2015.

To learn more about the School Breakfast Challenge, click here.

Is your school a school breakfast superstar? Let us know! We’d love to visit!

Check out more pictures from this morning’s visit!

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting the day off with school breakfast

Desk%20BreakfastBy Ashley Michini, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

School’s back in session and the Food Bank of Delaware has a fun School Breakfast Quiz to help you learn some things you may not know about the USDA’s School Breakfast program.

True or False: School Breakfast through the USDA National School Lunch Program is intended only for children from low-income families

FALSE! School breakfast is for everyone! All students can benefit from a healthy start to their day. Delaware’s children need full stomachs in order to succeed. School breakfast programs greatly benefit students from all backgrounds and provide students the ability to start their days off right.

True or False: The best way to support your school district’s School Breakfast program is to make sure children participate in it

TRUE! It’s as easy as that, increased participation strengthens school breakfast programs. It provides increased funding to schools through reimbursements and keeps students satisfied, so they can focus on learning instead of longing for lunch.

Parents—encourage your children to eat breakfast at school. Teachers and School Personnel—Lead by example, and participate in School Breakfast yourself. Show students that eating a nutrient-rich breakfast at school is not only good for you, but a fun program that their school provides.

True or False: Breakfast improves students’ behavior in the classroom

TRUE! Not only does breakfast aid students’ physical health, it also provides behavioral wellness that makes for a more pleasant and productive classroom setting. The Share our Strength organization’s 2013 Teachers Report found that 88 percent of teachers agree that hungry kids cannot concentrate, 82 percent of teachers noted that students who don’t start their days with breakfast lack energy, and over two-thirds of teachers recognized that children who are hungry cause discipline problems in the classroom. School Breakfast is the answer—it widely increases students’ ability to concentrate and lowers the risk of emotional/behavioral complications in youth.

True or False: Eating breakfast at home is better than eating School Breakfast

FALSE! Expert nutritionists that work with the federal government have designed the School Breakfast served through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program so that it is a perfectly balanced, nutritious meal to encourage healthy physical development for students. Research compiled by the Food Research and Action Center shows that participation in the School Breakfast Program decreases obesity and high Body Mass Indices in adolescents, and at the same time, boosts kids’ daily nutrient intake.

Classroom%20Breakfast_0True or False: The only place students eat school breakfast is in the cafeteria.

FALSE! Many schools have found that it’s easier to get children to eat breakfast when they have more options than just traditional served meals in the cafeteria.

Picture the fast-paced start of the school day, kids getting off the bus and making their way through the crowded hallways to chat with friends before class, at the same time, teachers on duty do their best to make sure the students arrive to class before the bell. Blaring loudspeakers broadcast announcements of late busses, parents try to make their way to the main office to take care of looming administrative paperwork. With all of this movement, it’s often a challenge for students to have enough time to go through the cafeteria line, receive their breakfast, find a seat in the cafeteria and eat it before first period. This is where Alternative School Breakfast models come in. Here are three proven models that adapt to the start of the school day:

  • Breakfast in the Classroom
    • Breakfast in the Classroom skips students’ trek to the cafeteria all-together. Instead they head directly to their classes, and breakfasts are delivered directly to them. Having all students eat together with their peers greatly reduces the stigma associated with School Breakfast and makes it accessible to all children. Contrary to the belief that Breakfast in the Classroom actually provides more time for teachers’ lessons, since their pupils go directly to class and don’t dawdle in the halls. In Delaware, Seaford Middle School saw a 481 percent increase in participation in school breakfast by using Breakfast in the Classroom! An additional 600 children served each day.
  • Second Chance
    • Sometimes students aren’t hungry when they arrive at school in the early morning. The Second Chance program gives an option of either having traditional breakfast in the morning, or taking an on-the-go breakfast to eat between first and second period or during a designated nutrition break.
  • Grab and Go Breakfast
    • The Grab and Go format allows students to choose the breakfast items they like best from either the cafeteria or a food cart stationed in the hallway, and then bring it to their class to consume during the morning announcements.

Want to do more to help students achieve? Get your school to participate in the Food Bank of Delaware’s first-ever School Breakfast Challenge- an exciting opportunity for schools making major gains in breakfast participation to win cash awards for their performance!

To help increase participation in the school breakfast program, we issued a challenge last spring at our second annual Ending Hunger Conference. Thanks to a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware and the Delaware Department of Education, ten awards ranging from $3,000 to $500 will be made available to eight district schools and two charter or nonpublic schools. Cash grants will be awarded to the school with the highest breakfast participation in October 2014 and the most-improved breakfast participation from October 2013 to October 2014. More information can be found here http://www.fbd.org/school-breakfast-challenge/.

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Food For Thought, a conversation with the candidates

Just in time for the September primary, the Food Bank of Delaware will host Food for Thought, a conversation with candidates running for state legislature, on Thursday, August 21 at its Newark facility and Wednesday, September 3 at its Milford facility.

“Sponsoring this policy discussion is very important for the health and food security of all Delawareans,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We take very seriously the role of educating our elected officials and candidates for political office and providing an opportunity for them to process, learn and ask questions regarding hunger and nutrition issues.”

Food for Thought will offer local candidates running for the Delaware State Senate and House the opportunity to voice their stance on issues related to food insecurity, poverty and nutrition. Following brief prepared remarks by the candidates, the floor will be opened to the public for a question and answer session.

Food for Thought aims to educate the community before heading to the polls on September 9 and raises awareness of how legislation affects day-to-day service to hungry people throughout the state and how community members can change the shape of legislation through their political involvement.

When: Thursday, August 21, 2014; 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (Newark)/Wednesday, September 3, 2014; 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (Milford)

Where: Food Bank of Delaware, 14 Garfield Way, Newark  & 1040 Mattlind Way, Milford

Agenda:

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Breakfast and networking

8:30 a.m. – 9:10 a.m. – Welcome and remarks from candidates

9:10 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Audience Q&A

Confirmed candidates (Newark event):

  • Jeff Porter (Candidate, State House 12)
  • Paul Baumbach (Incumbent, State House 23)
  • Matt Lenzini (Candidate, State House 15)
  • Steven Newton (Candidate, State House 22)
  • Bryan Townsend (Incumbent, State Senate 11)
  • Lynne Newlin (Candidate, State House 11)
  • John Mackenzie (Candidate, State House 22)
  • Bethany Hall-Long (Incumbent, State Senate 10)
  • James Burton (Candidate, State House 15)

Confirmed candidates (Milford event):

  • Pat Emory (Candidate, State Senate 18 – Primary)
  • Claire Snyder-Hall (Candidate, State Senate 6)
  • Dave Wilson (Incumbent, State House 35)
  • Gary Wolfe (Candidate, State Senate 18 – Primary)
  • Paulette Rappa (Candidate, State House 37)
  • Ruth Briggs King (Incumbent, State House 37)
  • Kevin Robbins (Candidate, State House 33)
  • Ron Gray (Incumbent, State House 38)
  • Pete Kramer (Candidate, State House 29)

To attend Food for Thought, please register by contacting Ashley Michini, Food Bank of Delaware Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, at (302) 292-1305 ext. 206 or amichini@fbd.org. Space is limited. Complementary continental breakfast will be provided.

 

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A visit to our nation’s capital to advocate for the Summer Food Service Program

By Charlotte McGarry, Programs Director

Wow! What an amazing day! Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to speak before Senate staff at a briefing to educate lawmakers about the Summer Food Service Program. This educational opportunity was important as lawmakers begin to discuss the Summer Meals Act of 2014. As I departed the Wilmington train station en route to our nation’s capital, I was feeling excited, but extremely nervous. This was my first time speaking to national leaders about a program that helps so many children in our country during the summer months.

Feeding America and Share Our Strength invited the Food Bank of Delaware to speak given our long history and success with the program. Since 2002, we, along with our partners and volunteers, have provided millions of meals to children at risk of hunger in our state.

During my 10-minute talk I spoke about the need, challenges and successes of the program from the perspective of a sponsor. As a sponsor,  we are responsible for locating and recruiting meal sites, hiring, training and supervising staff and volunteers, arranging meal preparation and delivery, monitoring sites, and preparing claims for meal cost reimbursement from USDA.

Yesterday’s presentation was intended to show members of Congress that it’s time to make adjustments to Summer Food Service Program processes developed in the 60s and 70s.  As we all know, families’ needs and dynamics have significantly changed since then. It’s time to change the processes in which we serve children summer meals.

In Delaware only 20 percent of children who receive free or reduced-price meals at school participate in the Summer Food Service Program. Participation is not only low in Delaware, but on a national level. Lack of transportation and general awareness are two major barriers that hinder participation.

In order to reach more children, USDA has funded several demonstration grants to try alternative ways to provide meals. The Food Bank of Delaware, along with the Delaware Department of Education successfully managed one of these projects.

The Grab and Go alternative service method was so successful that we were able receive three years of generous funding from Our Family Foundation.  During this second year of private funding and fourth year of the program our staff is faced with the sad truth that the need for this style of meal service outweighs the funds.

We urge Congress to support their constituents by instituting the changes necessary for children throughout our nation to have the opportunity to participate in Grab and Go and other innovative meal delivery programs.

To learn more about the Summer Meals Act of 2014, please click here.

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Legislative Day in Dover

DSC_0060compressedBy Dan Reyes, Coalition to End Hunger Coordinator

Every year around the start of summer, those wandering the corridors of Legislative Hall are greeted by a veritable sea of tie-dye—it’s hard to miss the Food Bank of Delaware’s Legislative Day. Staff and supporters travel to Dover to educate elected officials about the hunger crisis in our state and what FBD is doing to help, and in turn, the legislature is kind enough to pass a resolution commending our work.

In years past there has been a conspicuous absence at legislative day—those who rely upon the Food Bank of Delaware and its partners for emergency food assistance. Neighbors struggling with poverty and food insecurity are all too often left out of debates and conversations over the policies that directly impact them. The inclusion of this perspective is critical to ensuring that elected officials are working in the best interest of the constituents that they serve.

This year, when given the floor in the State Senate, our President & CEO Patricia Beebe gave only a few brief remarks, before turning the podium over to Edward Hawkins, a Dover Resident and a client of the Food Bank of Delaware. Edward, a Vietnam-era veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was widowed after the passing of his wife last August. The loss of his wife was not only emotionally taxing, but also impacted his financial stability. The SNAP cuts of 2013 proved devastating, as he described to legislators:

“Prior to those cuts my food stores ran out approximately four days before the next month’s allotment. Now it has increased to two weeks. During that period, I got the chance to experience ‘true hunger’, which caused a weight loss of 20 pounds.”

Edward found relief through FBD’s mobile pantry program, where he filled out a “story card” expressing his interest in advocacy efforts. Not long after he began working with me to prepare for Legislative Day, culminating in his eloquent and impactful remarks on June 3rd. After speaking, Edward shared, “That was tough…it’s hard to get up in front of people I don’t know and feel so exposed. I don’t like feeling pitied…but I know this is important. I hope that by doing this, it will make it possible for other people in my situation to do the same.”

For both FBD and Edward, this is only the beginning. We are in the process of developing a “Witnesses to Hunger” program, an expansion of a project of Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities that seeks to engage caregivers of low-income households in participant-led advocacy efforts. Ensuring our clients can advocate for policies that will allow for greater opportunity and self-reliance is just as important to us as providing emergency food assistance.

Peace, Love, End Hunger.

 

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