Category Archives: Children's Nutrition

Summer meals at Wilton Park

By Kim Turner, Communications Director

Thanks to a generous grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation, we are able to offer free meals through mobile meal sites to our community this summer! Lanier Williams, our Mobile Meals Summer Driver, travels from community to community in New Castle County delivering meals to children. In addition to our mobile meal sites, we provide meals to 90+ other sites up and down the state.

Lanier begins the day by packing his van with tables, chairs and coolers filled with meals and milk. The coolers are all packed by a dedicated team of volunteers, and all of the meals follow the guidelines for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). A park coordinator meets Lanier at each stop to help set up tables and chairs and distribute meals to the kids.

Last Friday, I stopped by the mobile meal site at Wilton Park in New Castle. Located in a highly residential area where hundreds of kids live, a mobile meal site in the park is a perfect spot. When I arrived, there were already many kids playing in the park, patiently waiting for the mobile meal van’s 1:30 p.m. arrival time.

The van pulled up at 1:30 on the dot – right on time! Lanier, and Kirsten, our Children’s Nutrition Coordinator, began unloading the van and setting up tables and chairs in a nice shaded area. As soon as the kids saw the back door of the van open up, they came running!

Lanier and Kirsten distributed cups of balsamic chicken, a bread stick, fruit and milk. The kids loved the meal!

Once the meals were gobbled up, the kids cleaned up their trash and darted back to the playground and basketball courts. Thanks to ConAgra’s generosity, the kids had full bellies for the rest of the afternoon!

More than 15 children enjoyed a free meal at Wilton Park on Friday, and Lanier says the number of kids grows each day as word spreads.

Mobile meals are available at the following sites:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday:
Hudson State Service Center, Newark
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Monday-Friday
Dickey Park, Newark
12:00 p.m.

Monday-Friday
Centennial Park, Bear
12:45 p.m.

Monday-Friday
Wilton Park, New Castle
1:30 p.m.

To find other meal sites sponsored by the Food Bank of Delaware and other statewide partners, dial 2-1-1, text FOOD to 877-877 or visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks.

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Food Bank of Delaware kicks off “Hunger-Free Summer”

We kicked off our 2015 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) with a Summer Fun Fair for kids and adults at Newark’s Dickey Park on Friday afternoon!

More than 60 children and adults gathered for a free lunch provided by students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, activities, a cooking demo and inspiring words from retired NFL punter Sean Landeta. At the conclusion of the event, adults received a 30-pound meal box from the food bank’s mobile pantry. Special thanks to the team from Bank of America for helping out with the afternoon event!

The kickoff event was made possible thanks to a $20,000 Hunger-Free Summer grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation. In addition, the generous grant will allow us to operate mobile meal sites in New Castle County. A driver will travel from site to site delivering meals, and a Food Bank of Delaware park coordinator will distribute the meals.

Children will be able to visit one of three park sites, Dickey Park in Newark (Monday-Friday; 12:00 p.m.), Centennial Park in Bear (Monday-Friday; 12:45 p.m.) and Wilton Park in New Castle (Monday-Friday; 1:30 p.m.), to receive a free nutritious meal.

Two additional sites are at the Middletown State Service Center (meals served Tuesday and Thursday; 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.) and Hudson State Service Center (meals served Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.). State Service Center sites are available to clients’ children visiting the center.

The Food Bank of Delaware will provide free meals to 92 other sites throughout the summer. Meals are planned to feature healthy, kid-friendly foods, including cereal and milk, bagels, soy butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, grilled chicken on a whole-wheat roll, yogurt, oranges, nectarines, celery sticks and more. No paperwork is needed for a child to visit a SFSP site.

“The Hunger Free Summer grant allows us to provide meals to kids, so they don’t have to worry about food, and have more time to run, play and be kids,” says Charlotte McGarry, Food Bank of Delaware Programs Director. “Working with Feeding America and our partners at ConAgra Foods Foundation through the Hunger Free Summer program, we will be able to provide more healthy meals to more children in our community.”

One more Summer Fun Fair is planned for tomorrow at Centennial Park in Bear.

Children and teens up to age 18 are eligible to receive free meals. To locate free meals, families can text FOOD to 877-877 or dial 2-1-1.

Check out some more photos from the Summer Fun Fair!

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Backpacks are a hit at Reily Brown Elementary School

Barbara Smith, a Paraprofessional, at Reily Brown Elementary, helps with the school's weekly backpack distribution!

Barbara Smith, a Paraprofessional, at Reily Brown Elementary, helps with the school’s weekly backpack distribution!

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

More than half the students at W. Reily Brown Elementary School get a backpack full of weekend meals to take home with them each Friday.

Dr. Wendy Whitehurst, the school’s assistant principal, said the school on Dover’s south side, has been participating in the Food Bank of Delaware’s Backpack Program since 2010.

The food, she said, really makes a difference in the students’ lives.

“We realized that 77 percent of the 409 students live in poverty,” she said, so parents are offered an opportunity to enroll their children into the program.

Here’s how it works: At-risk children are identified by school personnel, and it’s called the Backpack Program because a plastic bag filled with nutritionally sound and kid-friendly food, enough for the weekend, are placed in a child’s backpack.

During the 2013-14 school year, 4,692 children in Delaware received weekend food through this backpack program at 125 sites state-wide.

At first, Reily Brown’s school administrators were a bit concerned that those students receiving the bag of food might be stigmatized.

Actually, it’s been the opposite: everyone wants to be a Backpack Buddy.

Each school in the program handles the distribution a bit differently, based on staffing and volunteers. Food Bank of Delaware trucks deliver the backpacks to each school every week. At Reily Brown, custodians place boxes next to the classroom door; the teachers indicate the amount by a sticky note placed outside the door.

“It’s really helped many of our students,” said Dr. Whitehurst.

“We have heard teachers say that it’s a blessing. It’s a necessity. We’re a 100 percent Title 1 program. If the parents feel they need it. We make sure they get it,” she added.

In addition, the school takes advantage of the Food Bank’s After-School Nutrition Program. Dr. Whitehurst said each Tuesday and Thursday students participate in a phonics/ reading program.

“They get a snack and a drink, and then they go to their lesson,” she said.

“They really look forward to it, and it’s appreciated.”

To learn more about the Backpack Program, visit http://www.fbd.org/program/children%E2%80%99s-nutrition-program/backpack-program/.

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Kickin’ it with Calcium at Bancroft Elementary

Who doesn’t want strong bones and muscles? Fourth graders at Bancroft Elementary were certainly excited about the prospect of having strong bones and muscles from consuming more calcium! A group of 12 students participated in Community Nutrition Educator Alyssa Atanacio’s series of Kickin’ it with Calcium classes last month.

The three-part interactive class focuses on nutrition education activities and a physical activity demonstration to encourage children to increase their consumption of calcium and exercise.

Alyssa, one of our registered dieticians, started the class with a refresher from the last two classes. She asked the students a series of questions about the importance of calcium. For each question correct, the students received a milk mustache sticker. The student with the most mustache stickers by the end of the class got to pick the first prize at the end of class! Alyssa’s group remembered quite a bit about calcium from their last two sessions.

The first class in the series of three focuses on the role of calcium in the body, dairy and non-dairy sources of calcium, such as spinach, broccoli and almonds, the amount of dairy kids need, the role of Vitamin D and the importance of cardiovascular exercise. Special activities for session one include Simon Says using cardio exercises and a C is for Calcium worksheet where children identify foods containing calcium. Session two includes a review and the importance of strength exercises, such as sit-ups, push-ups and more!

Each class concludes with a special calcium-rich treat such as mozzarella cheese sticks, yogurt/yogurt parfaits or chocolate tofu mouse.

Session three’s special snack at Bancroft was a fruit smoothie served in a special Kickin’ it with Calcium cup, which they got to keep!

But before the kids got their special treat, they must be engaged throughout the session. To show the importance of flexibility, Alyssa led the students through a quick stretching and yoga routine. The kids were excited to show off their best tree and warrior poses!

At the end of the class, Alyssa poured the smoothies for each student. At first a few were apprehensive to taste their strawberry yogurt smoothie as first.

“This tastes sour,” said one student.

“I don’t think I’ll like it,” said another.

“You’ll like it,” Alyssa said encouragingly.

After some apprehension, slurping sounds started to fill the room; within minutes the cups were dry, and students were asking for seconds! One student even described the smoothie as “heavenly!”

To learn more about children’s nutrition education programs at the Food Bank of Delaware, please visit http://www.fbd.org/program/snap-education.

Check out some more pictures from Kickin’ it with Calcium at Bancroft!

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Partner Spotlight: Backpack Program at G.W. Carver Center

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Michele Murphy shows of G.W. Carver’s new school pantry, sponsored by the Harry K Foundation. In addition to backpacks, district families may also utilize the pantry.

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Many of the participants in the Food Bank of Delaware’s Backpack Program are in elementary and middle school.

However, at the G.W. Carver Center in Frankford, there are 58 high school students enrolled in the Advanced Preliterate English Language Learners (APELL) program who are grateful to receive the weekend supply of food.

Many of them work in addition to going to school, said Michele Murphy, Parent Center Director. “They are some of the happiest kids. They want to learn. They are not greedy and appreciate whatever they are given.”

Some, she said, work in the poultry-processing plant in addition to attending school.

“It’s like giving them a million dollars in cash,” she said. Even though the Backpack Program is geared toward elementary-age students, the food makes a difference in these students’ lives.

The Backpack Program, now in its third week here, is distributed on Fridays.

“It’s inconspicuous,” said Mrs. Murphy, adding that the shelf-stable food packed in plastic bags is handed out in the three classrooms where the students are learning English, math and science.

“It’s better than nothing, and it’s a little variety,” she said.

“The students are thrilled. It’s been successful beyond our expectations. Who knows, the backpacks may keep them here.”

Mrs. Murphy said the students are not the only ones who benefit from the backpacks.

“The teachers are also very appreciative. They could tell the students need some nourishment over the weekend. They feel like Santa Claus,” she added.

Teacher Lori Ott agrees the backpacks are an important part of the students’ educational experiences.

“They appreciate it, and they are ready for them,” she said.

To learn more about the Backpack Program, please click here.

 

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Partner Spotlight: After-School Nutrition Program at Gauger Middle School’s 4-H Program

Gauger 4H mentorsBy Kim Turner, Communications Director

Every weekday morning, a group of dedicated volunteers work alongside Food Bank of Delaware staff in both Newark and Milford to prepare healthy after-school meals. Volunteers spend each morning bagging sandwiches and other items and loading individual-sized milk cartons and fruit into coolers. A fleet of drivers deliver the meals and snacks to after-school programs up and down the state. For many children, the meal received after school is the last healthy meal of the day until going back to school the next morning.

On average we deliver 6,500 meals each week. So far this school year, we have distributed 97,378 meals.

Sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), our after-school nutrition program fills a meal void for many Delaware families. We partner with after-school programs such as the University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension’s 4-H after-school program. Targeting at-risk youth, the program is housed at 13 statewide locations, including Gauger Middle School in Newark.

Last month I had the opportunity to visit the group of 4-H mentors housed at Gauger Middle School. Mentor Sherice Brown and eight others (pictured above) work with a group of more than 40 students, providing after-school enrichment programs to students. The program lasts for two hours every schoolday afternoon. In addition to homework help and recreational activities, the students also enjoy an after-school meal prepared by our team of volunteers. When I visited, students had tuna fish with crackers, celery, oranges and milk. Some recent and future programming includes construction of wooden bird houses, a culture project, microwave magic healthy cooking demonstrations and a career day.

The mentors, employed by the University of Delaware, are thankful for an opportunity to provide students with a meal.

Volunteers are currently needed to help prepare meals in both Newark and Milford. Click here to sign up to help in the Milford kitchen and here to help in Newark.

Does your after-school program want to serve free meals? To qualify for the program, sites must operate in areas where at least 50 percent of the children attending the nearest school qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. To learn more, please contact Kirsten Gooden, Children’s Nutrition Coordinator, at (302) 444-8128 or kgooden@fbd.org.

 

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