Category Archives: Programs

Senior expresses gratitude for monthly food box

WinnieBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Usually, but not always, when the Food Bank of Delaware hosts a food distribution, those receiving the boxes will express gratitude. Most of the time, it’s a simple thank you.

It’s a rare occasion, though, when someone takes time to call us with grateful details.

Winnie Cooper of Smyrna is one of those rare callers who took the time to express her appreciation.

A retiree and a resident of Commerce Square, Ms. Cooper said she learned about the program through Deborah Freeman, her development manager, who was able to recruit a minimum of 10 residents to participate.

“I’m really pleased, so happy with this program,” she said.

The program is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), is a monthly food distribution for seniors over the age of 60. Seniors receiving the boxes must be Delaware residents and meet income guidelines.

A community volunteer herself, Ms. Cooper is no stranger to the Food Bank’s mission.

“I used to help with the Share program, so I went to Newark to see the source. Fresh fruit, meat, vegetables, cereal, it’s such a help. I really enjoy the newsletter and the recipes,” she said.

Each box contains a couple of recipes plus some exercise tips, something Ms. Cooper also finds quite helpful.

“It’s just little things to keep us moving, to get seniors going,” she added.

She especially enjoys the variety of wholesome, hearty food.

“It’s nutritious foods, very balanced. I don’t enjoy cooking, but I like the simplicity of the recipes. I try them, and if you save them, you can build a scrapbook,” Ms. Cooper said.

“I don’t have a lot of time, so I just pick one from each (food group) column. I love the way it’s set up, very thoughtful and convenient.”

“It’s so good. The cheese is wonderful because it melts in the microwave.”

So, after receiving her box Ms. Cooper felt as though picking up the phone and making a call was the right thing to do.

“I had to say thank you. It’s just a wonderful service. It’s something good, and I felt I had to tell them (Food Bank of Delaware.) It’s wonderful, and I tell others to send a positive feedback as well.”

Last year, the Food Bank of Delaware distributed 28,518 meal boxes to senior citizens.

To learn more about the CSFP program, visit http://www.fbd.org/program/senior-nutrition/.

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Senior health fair termed success; more than 200 attendees

By Gwen Guerke, Communications CoordinatorIMG_1122

The Food Bank of Delaware’s first, but certainly not last, Health Fair could be described as a huge success, since more than 200 people came out to the Milford branch for health screenings and education related to health and a healthy lifestyle.

Melissa Holochwost, Senior Nutrition and Mobile Pantry Coordinator at the Food Bank of Delaware, was pleased with the response, since 182 of those attending qualified to be served with food, including meat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

“I really couldn’t ask for anything more. The vendors said they were pleased, and the people I talked to said they learned things they didn’t know,” she said.

“We wanted to make it fun and relaxing, and we want seniors to feel like it is OK to ask for assistance.”

Linda Booth Rogers, DCVA, volunteer services coordinator for Volunteer Delaware 50+, said she was pleased with the turnout and the opportunity to talk with people.

“The fair was well attended by individuals in the community. It was wise to have it the same day the seniors picked up food, plus doing the bingo card to make sure each one visited our tables. It was clear that the population attending was in dire need of all the services provided by the many vendors,” she said.

IMG_1134Other vendors agreed.

Trisha Bentley, RN, MSN, a clinical educator with Bayhealth’s education department, staffed a table with two other nurses.

 “We did 28 Diabetes Paper Risk Assessments and handed out lab vouchers for patients to go to either Milford Memorial Hospital or Kent General Hospital outpatient lab for a free diabetes test. There were a significant number of patients who came by the table, but already had diabetes so didn’t take the risk assessment, but they took a wallet ID card and/or diabetes management information. I thought it was well organized, well attended, and I will definitely recommeIMG_1132nd doing it again,” she said.

Missy said the concept for the health fair was a natural offshoot of monthly senior cooking and nutrition classes offered at the Food Bank. The classes and health fair are supported through the generosity of the Palmer Home Foundation.

“From the mobile pantries and senior classes, I can see that seniors are interested in getting more education. They aren’t aware of the existing services,” she said.

“This was an opportunity for them to talk with experts, and for the most part, it was all I hoped it would be.”

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s services for senior citizens, visit http://www.fbd.org/program/senior-nutrition/.

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CSA program provides fresh, local produce; sign up to benefit self, others

CSA june 2014Delaware’s summer growing season is almost here, and it’s time to sign up for the Community Support Agriculture (CSA) through the Food Bank of Delaware.

Though CSA is a relatively new concept, most people are aware that it’s an opportunity to buy shares of local produce that are boxed, and then picked up weekly throughout the growing season.

Starting in mid-June, participants in the Food Bank’s CSA will be able to pick up at a location close to their home: the Food Bank’s Newark warehouse (sponsor shares only), Wilmington Farmers’ Market at Cool Springs Park, Downtown Dover Farmers’ Market or the Food Bank’s Milford Branch.

The cost for a full share is $500 (with $100 tax deductible) or $250 for a half share ($50 tax deductible), and payment options are available by visiting www.fbd.org/program/csa. The program can also be pro-rated for those who sign up later in the season.

Contents for the Food Bank’s CSA program come from the historic Laurel Farmers’ Auction Market. Calvin Musser, manager, said the season starts in June with squash, cucumbers and peppers, with corn arriving in late June.

The CSA boxes also include fresh leafy vegetables, herbs, tomatoes, fruit and root vegetables as they are grown locally. Each full share is enough to feed a family of four for a week.

Barbara Brkovich, the Food Bank’s CSA Program Coordinator, describes this program as a “win, win, win” for everyone: local farmers, the shareholders and the community members. The Food Bank modified the conventional CSA model to assist families in need, allowing them to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from their local farmers’ markets.

Each Sponsor share allows the Food Bank of Delaware to subsidize 2.5 shares for families in need.

For families with limited incomes, half shares are available for $5/week, while full shares are $10 (a deposit is required to hold your spot). Shares can be paid using an EBT card or cash. Pick up is available weekly at the Wilmington Farmers’ Market at Cool Springs Park, the Downtown Dover Farmers’ Market or the Food Bank’s Milford Branch. Families also receive tokens to use at market vendors at the two farmers’ markets.

To learn more, please visit www.fbd.org/program/csa/ or contact Brkovich at, (302) 292-1305 ext 204 or bbrkovich@fbd.org.

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Annual dinner showcases culinary students, thanks top supporters and friends

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

It goes without saying that the Food Bank of Delaware’s Annual Dinner is regarded as a special evening. The event is our opportunity to honor and thank those who support our mission.

Thursday evening’s banquet at our Milford site exceeded any expectations. Tim Hunter, chef instructor, and his nine Culinary School students prepared and served a gourmet meal for our staff and guests. They who also had an opportunity to savor craft beers donated and served by our neighbors, Mispillion River Brewing. The menu, served at buffet stations, was paired with local beers.

Patricia Beebe, our President and CEO, lauded our top honorees of the year. They are: James Buford and Rich Simpson, Volunteers of the Year; The Harry K Foundation, Donor of the Year; Michael Haritos, Supporter of the Year; State Sen. Bryan Townsend, Legislator of the Year, Sussex Community Corrections Center, Partner of the Year.

We are extremely grateful for the time and talent they contribute to the Food Bank of Delaware, and over the next week, we will feature each honoree in a separate blog. Stay tuned!

During the week prior to the dinner, staff members received an email from Pat: tie dye shirts were mandatory for the occasion. Those of us who’ve been here for awhile know that’s code for “auspicious occasion.”

To set the tone for the evening, Pat took an opportunity before dinner to recognize all 60 members of the Food Bank’s staff, calling them by department up to the podium, to thank us for the hard work we’re doing and for our dedication to the people we serve.

After dinner, the evening got a bit emotional as Pat put aside her notes to praise the partnership between the Sussex Community Corrections’ Sussex Work Release Center, noting that the nine Culinary School students who prepared our dinner were associated with the center in Georgetown.

Guests could see that the students were proud of their accomplishments, that they respected Chef Hunter and “Miss Pat,” that the Culinary School made a big difference in their lives, that they were looking forward to internships, to the May 8 graduation ceremonies, and to meaningful employment opportunities.

The details of that story, and more, are left for another day.

For more information on how to volunteer and support the Food Bank of Delaware, visit www.fbd.org.

Check out photos from last night’s dinner!

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Senior Cooking Class with Chef Tim

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By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

You’re never too old to learn something new, and the dozen Kent County senior citizens who participated in the Food Bank of Delaware’s Senior Cooking Classes on Thursday, March 26 in the afternoon demonstrated that learning can be fun . . . and tasty.

The ladies, along with one gentleman, joined Chef Instructor Tim Hunter in the classroom of the Food Bank’s Culinary School in Milford for an hour-long class/ demonstration.

Chef Hunter chose recipes that incorporated food items these senior might receive in their monthly box. All of these seniors qualify for the class funded through the Palmer Home Foundation grant by meeting USDA income guidelines; not all, however, receive a monthly box.

The theme of the day was to offer some creative and tasty ways to use leftover roast chicken or turkey. Each CFSP package includes fruits, vegetables, carbohydrate, protein (the chicken, for example), grains, and dairy.

These seniors also told Chef Hunter they wanted to learn how to correctly prepare wheat pasta, so he took the group into the kitchen to show them how long to cook the pasta and how to drain it was well.

“The key is to undercook or it gets mushy,” he said.

As for the examples and samples, Chef Hunter and the Milford Culinary School Class prepared a tasty salad using the whole wheat pasta, fresh herbs and some of the leftover chicken dressed with a home-made vinaigrette, chicken orzo soup based on a freshly prepared chicken stock using the carcass, and mini chicken pot pies.

Brittany, a student nutrition intern with the Food Bank, handed out samples as chef talked about the ease of preparation, adding some helpful cooking hints.

These senior unanimously agreed the food was delicious as they peppered him with questions, mostly asking how they could fine-tune the recipes to match their personal tastes.

“It’s up to you, as far as seasonings,” Chef Hunter said, suggesting they tie in fresh herbs as they become available.

The students were all smiles as they left because they each received about 100 pounds of food, including a frozen chicken and turkey.

If you are a senior citizen or know one in need of monthly food assistance, please contact Missy Holochwost, Senior Nutrition Coordinator, at (302) 444-8129 or mholochwost@fbd.org.

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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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Senior Recipe Club classes offer new ways to prepare food

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Some common perceptions may not be a reality, such as senior citizens know how to prepare healthy, nutritious and economical meals.

Sure, they may have prepared meals for their families, but living with a downsized household and a limited income can create frustrating challenges.

The Food Bank of Delaware launched a Recipe Club, sponsored by the Palmer Home Foundation, to meet the needs of Kent County seniors who want to prepare and enjoy healthy and appealing meals.

In Milford, Asia Thurston, one of our community nutrition educators, offered an entertaining, engaging and educational hour-long class for the half dozen seniors gathered around the conference room table.

This class was the first in a series of four hands-on, nutrition classes hosted by the SNAP-Education department; classes are designed to help participants make healthy food choices on a limited budget.

Since most people use a recipe to prepare, Asia started with the basics: what is a recipe? This class is not just about telling; it’s also about doing with students participating in informal quizzes.

The recipe for the day was individual pizzas cooked in an electric skillet. Asia handed out a whole-grain sandwich round, then students passed around the tomato sauce for the next layer. They were offered a variety of toppings, including turkey pepperoni, green pepper, and pineapple, in addition to the cheese.

The students laughed and joked and exchanged pleasantries while the pizzas cooked. Of course, they enjoyed eating their fresh and healthy pizzas toward the end of class.

As they departed for the day, each student received a box of food that includes fresh produce and bread, in addition to shelf-stable menu items.

Students will complete the four-week program on Feb. 26. In addition to learning food safety and some new recipes, each student goes home with a recipe book and Mobile Pantry food box of non-perishable food.

In addition to the Recipe Club, the Food of Bank of Delaware will also host a two-part free senior cooking class in March at the Food Bank’s Milford site. Chef Tim Hunter will lead the class, and participants will learn to make easy-to-prepare recipes using common, everyday items.

The hour-long classes are at 3 p.m. March 19 and 26. There are still openings for Kent County seniors over age 60. Students must commit to both days.

For more information or to sign up for these senior programs, call Missy Holochwost at (302) 444-8129 or email mholochwost@fbd.org.

 

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