It’s hard to believe that 2014 is coming to a close! It’s been another great year of fighting hunger in our community. The year has been filled with great achievements! Fortunately, so many great things happened this year that we couldn’t include them all! Check out our Year in Review in photos!
January: We kicked off 2014 with the graduation ceremony for our 35th graduating culinary class at the Newark facility! To top off the achievements of the students, Chase presented a check for $100,000 to The Culinary School!
February: In December 2013, we launched our Share a Second Helping food drive campaign, to help collect 100,000 pounds of much-needed food to stock food pantries over the cold winter months and fill a shortfall from a reduction in SNAP benefits. The campaign ended on February 28, 2014, and we met the goal thanks to generous donations from Kraft Foods and Giant. In this picture our staff is helping to offload a truck from Giant.
March: We introduced our newest nutrition class for preschoolers – LANA the Iguana. LANA visits the little ones at local preschools and Head Start programs to teach about how eating healthy is fun!
April: We held our second annual Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service conference on April 7 at the Christiana Hilton. The day featured panels, a keynote address from Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and the launch of our first-ever School Breakfast Challenge. Lt. Governor, now Attorney General, Matt Denn, and Secretary of Education Mark Murphy were on hand to share that $20,000 in cash grants were available to schools who effectively increase participation. We will announce the winners in 2015!
April: The month of April was so busy that we couldn’t pick just one event! Later that month, we held our Annual Dinner at our Milford facility, where we honored our top supporters of the year. Here is our Legislator of the Year, Colin Bonini, with our President and CEO Patricia Beebe and Board Chairman TJ Roe. A delicious menu was prepared by students from our Culinary School in Milford and guests enjoyed live entertainment from the Swing Noteables.
May: We were thrilled to receive a generous $95,000 donation from the TD Bank Charitable Foundation in May to help support our Mobile Pantry Program. To commemorate the donation, an evening mobile pantry was held at Stubbs Elementary School. TD Bank employees were on hand to provide financial literacy education and distribute food to families. While parents learned new financial tips, students enjoyed stories read by students from the University of Delaware.
May: Spring is always a busy time for the Food Bank of Delaware! The good news continued to pour in when Bank of America announced at the Wilmington Grand Prix a gift of $150,000 to purchase a brand-new multi-purpose vehicle! We will officially roll out the new vehicle in early 2015! The truck will feature a mobile kitchen, refrigerated unit and a customized Bank of America vehicle wrap and more!
June: When school ends for summer, so does access to healthy meals for many children. We kicked off our Summer Grab and Go program, sponsored by Our Family Foundation, with three summer fun fairs for kids! The events featured face painting, games, a free meal and an opportunity for parents to visit our Mobile Pantry.
June: Educating our elected officials about the problems of hunger in Delaware is important. Legislative Hall became a sea of tie-dye on June 3 when we held our annual Legislative Day. We were joined by the team from 3B: Brae’s Brown Bags. This year our Culinary School students provided lunch to elected officials and their staff members. Throughout the room, cardboard cutouts represented the individuals we serve each each year. Each visitor also received a booklet telling the story of the individuals featured. In addition to lunch, Edward Hawkins, a gentleman who utilizes our services, spoke to leaders in the House and Senate to discuss the impact of our services on his life.
July: The annual Food Lion Feeds Hunger Relief Day was held on July 21 at the Delaware State Fair. In exchange for five Food Lion brand cans, attendees received one free gate admittance. In total, we collected 21,865 pounds – a 933 pound increase from 2013! In addition to collecting food, several staff members held healthy cooking demonstrations for fair goers!
July: We spent the entire summer growing our own produce at Penn Farm in New Castle. We really began to see the fruits of our labor in July when the tomatoes, peppers, watermelons were ready for harvest! In our first year we harvested several thousand pounds of produce. The initative was made possible by our Summer Ag Intern Sara Somers and lots of volunteer hands!
August: We celebrated the third graduating class of The Culinary School at the Milford Branch in early August. We were lucky enough to have the late Matt Haley of SoDel Concepts provide inspiring keynote remarks. Matt’s speech at the Food Bank was his last public appearance before his tragic death from a motorcycle accident in India just a few weeks later. Matt told our students, “Nothing in the world can stop you from being you. Believe in yourself.”
August: The Food Bank of Delaware provided candidates running for office with an opportunity to discuss issues related to hunger and poverty at our first-ever Food For Thought candidate forum. Events were held in both Newark and Milford.
September: We marked September’s Hunger Action Month with our first-ever charity golf tournament. Sunny blue skies welcomed golfers for a day on the links at Fieldstone Golf Club in Greenville. Close to $30,000 was raised. The tournament will be held again in 2015 on September 14.
October: We held our annual Blue Jean Ball on Saturday, October 11, and Governor Jack Markell and First Lady Carla Markell served as honorary co-chairs for the event. Presented by Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, the evening featured fine German foods prepared by Iron Hill’s team of chefs and students from The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, Iron Hill’s own brews, fine wines provided by Southern Wine and Spirits and live entertainment fromMike Hines and The Look. The 2015 Blue Jean Ball will be held on Saturday, October 24.
October: Towards the end of October we celebrated the grand opening of the Harry K Foundation-sponsored school pantry at the Indian River School District’s G.W. Carver Educational Center in Frankford. Funds were raised at last year’s Harry K. Christmas Ball. Support from the Harry K Foundation allowed us to provide 103 children from Sussex County with a backpack full of food for the entire school year and to open nine new school pantries in Sussex County schools, including the one at G.W. Carver.
November: We started the month of November at the Milford Walmart marking significant donations from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. Over the past two years, we have received two refrigerated trucks and more than $330,000 from the Walmart Foundation, and close to one million pounds of food from Walmart.
November: We ended the month on a high note with the distribution of 4,000 Thanksgiving meal boxes and frozen turkeys through our annual Thanksgiving For All holiday distribution! Thanks to the support of our community, including Kraft Foods, DART Stuff the Bus, iHeart Media Turkey Round Up and Harris Teeter, we collected more than 217,000 pounds of food and $65,000 for the initative, including a $30,000 donation from Chesapeake Utilities Corporation.
December: The second annual Harry K Christmas Ball was held on December 6 at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club. More than 250 guests attended the lavish event. Proceeds from the event will help support nutrition initatives for children in Southern Delaware.
December: Earlier this year, we were surprised to learn that we inherited a home from a woman who once depended on our services. In order to help fund our hunger-relief programs, we put the home on the market with the help of Michael Haritos, a realtor from Keller Williams. Michael generously donated his $6,000 commission from the sale of the house back to the Food Bank!
Thank you for a great 2014! We are looking forward to another successful year in 2015!
Happy Holidays from all of us at the Food Bank of Delaware!