Category Archives: Supporters

Food Bank of Delaware honors Senator Bryan Townsend as Legislator of the Year

Legislator of the Year: State Senator Bryan Townsend

Legislator of the Year: State Senator Bryan Townsend

When Senator Bryan Townsend, State Senator for the 11th district, was elected to office in 2012, one of his first items of business was to visit the Food Bank of Delaware’s Newark facility. The Newark facility falls within the 11th senatorial district, and from the beginning, the Food Bank has been able to depend on Senator Townsend as an advocate in Legislative Hall.

He is supportive of legislation that impacts low-income populations, and in June 2014, he hosted the Food Bank of
Delaware at Legislative Hall for a legislative day. On that same day, Senator Townsend presented the Food Bank of Delaware with a Senate Resolution recognizing the Food Bank of Delaware for its contributions to alleviating hunger in Delaware.

In addition to serving as an ally in the halls of our state capitol, we also rely on Senator Townsend for strategic advice. Despite a busy schedule, the Senator has also made time to help plan the May 4 Coming Together conference, a partnership between the Food Bank of Delaware, Brae’s Brown Bags and the Food Research and Action Center.

The Food Bank of Delaware is grateful to have Bryan Townsend as our friend and state senator! Thank you, Senator, for your work to end hunger!

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Harry K Foundation honored at Annual Dinner

Donor of the Year: Harry K Foundation

Donor of the Year: Harry K Foundation

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

The Harry K Foundation was honored as Donor of the Year at our annual dinner held at the Milford branch on April 16.

Harry Keswani of Rehoboth Beach started this foundation in 2013 when he pledged to eliminate childhood hunger in Sussex County.

The Foundation started supporting the Food Bank of Delaware through an inaugural 2013 Christmas Ball, a black-tie event at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club; 100 percent of the proceeds was donated to the Foundation’s mission.

In its first year, that Christmas Ball was a sell-out success, raising enough money to provide more than 100 children in Sussex Country with a backpack full of food for the entire school year, and also to open nine new school pantries in Sussex County.

It costs $158 to provide a child with weekend food for one year. These backpacks are distributed through the schools before weekends and school holidays; each school site coordinator creates a discreet way to get the backpacks to children enrolled in the program.

During the 2013-14 school year, 4,692 children received backpacks through 125 sites statewide.

Since the first Christmas Ball was so successful, naturally there was another one. Thanks to the proceeds from the 2014 gala, the Food Bank of Delaware will be able to open an additional 10 school pantries and double the number of backpacks distributed to Sussex County children.

“Hunger is all around us, and it is our civic responsibility to feed our people,” Keswani said.

The Food Bank of Delaware and the people we serve thank the Harry K Foundation and the Keswani family for their commitment to our vision of a community free of hunger.

For more information on how to support the Food Bank of Delaware or the Backpack Program, click here!



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Volunteer Spotlight: Pam Fletcher

DSC_0089By Lynda Pusey, Fund Development Specialist

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month! Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization. We can’t do what we do without their support! While each and every volunteer is important to us, some have gone above and beyond! Pam Fletcher is one of those volunteers.

Pam is a retired school psychologist who has been volunteering at the Food Bank of Delaware since August 2014. She volunteers in the kitchen and in the volunteer room approximately six hours each week and says she loves the variety of work and meeting so many new people.

As a kitchen volunteer, Pam works alongside a small team of volunteers preparing and packing meals for our After-School Nutrition Program. Having worked in a school environment she understands the importance of getting food to those who are food insecure. Thanks to dedicated volunteers like Pam we have been able to distribute 138,812 meals and 51,282 snacks through the After-School Nutrition Program to children who may not have access to nutritious foods after school.

She said she has learned patience and how to “roll with the flow” every day while volunteering. Her advice for people who are considering volunteering is to come and give it a try. “It is so fulfilling. It’s such a gift to be able to give back, and that’s why I volunteer,” she says.

To learn more about how you can volunteer your time at the Food Bank of Delaware, please visit

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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

Check out photos from last night’s dinner!

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Volunteers find rewards in lending a hand to the Food Bank of Delaware

0408_Violet02By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Here at the Food Bank of Delaware we have a special place in our heart for volunteers. After all, they help us fight hunger in Delaware every single day.

Violet Sorden of Milford signed up to volunteer at our Milford site in February. She retired from the state Division of Social Services after 28 years and had become caregiver for her father, but she decided to volunteer in order ”to do something to get out of the house.”

So she comes in each week to help Missy Holochwost, our Senior Nutrition and Mobile Pantry Coordinator, with clerical tasks.

What a perfect match!

“I was a little nervous at first, but everybody here is really friendly. I definitely enjoy it,” Violet said.

As a social service professional, Violet is familiar with the paperwork tied to programs that assist people in need.

So Missy set up a mini-desk/workstation next to the window where Violet makes phone calls or sends out letters during the 6-8 hours a week she volunteers.

“I really missed all of this,” she said. “I enjoyed talking to people on the phone.”

Her time benefits everyone, including our clients.

“This really hit the bell for both of us. I do multiple programs, and I wouldn’t be able to do it without physical help with all the paperwork,” said Missy.

The Food Bank of Delaware offers many volunteer opportunities, including stacking, sorting and packing food donations, preparing and packing meals for children and creating meal boxes that go to seniors and families.

Last year, there were 15,691 volunteer visits to the Food Bank, totaling 41,455 hours or the equivalent of 19 full-time staff members.

Volunteers are always welcome and opportunities can be found at!

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J.G. Townsend Jr. & Company donates close to 60,000 pounds of frozen produce to Food Bank of Delaware

Pictured (left to right): Solomon Henry (Plant Manager), Chad Robinson (Milford Branch Director), Roger Townsend (Company Owner), Bill Lingo (Company Owner), John Lingo (Company Owner), Gene Bayard (Company Owner), Derrick Lingo (Company Owner) and Paul Townsend (Company Owner). Not pictured: Owner Bryce Lingo

Pictured (left to right): Solomon Henry (Plant Manager), Chad Robinson (Milford Branch Director), Roger Townsend (Company Owner), Bill Lingo (Company Owner), John Lingo (Company Owner), Gene Bayard (Company Owner), Derrick Lingo (Company Owner) and Paul Townsend (Company Owner). Not pictured: Owner Bryce Lingo

Remember Talley’s blog from a few weeks ago announcing a donation of 40,000 pounds of fresh, locally-grown produce from J.G. Towsend Jr. & Company? Well, we are excited to announce that the Georgetown company has donated an additional 19,000-plus pounds to us! This brings their total donation to close to 60,000 pounds of frozen black-eyed peas, green peas and beans!

The donation filled close to 6 Food Bank of Delaware trucks. The bulk produce will be individually-packaged as part of our new Produce Access Program. The program’s aim is to provide more fruits and vegetables to low-income Delawareans. This initiative shifts the organization towards a more proactive food sourcing strategy and commits additional resources to ensure a better, more consistent supply of produce.

Food Bank of Delaware volunteers will bag up the donated produce in to 6”x10” pouches. The bags are placed into coolers to ensure proper temperature control while they await the vacuum sealer. Once they are sealed, labels are affixed to the bags with information about the product, the food bank’s address and cooking instructions. Volunteers take the finished bags and pack them into cases before they are brought back into the freezer for temporary storage.

“Everyone at J.G. Townsend is once again excited to be able to partner with the Food Bank of Delaware,” said Owner Lloyd Richter. “We look forward to a long-lasting relationship in the fight against hunger in our state.”

“We are so thankful for J.G. Townsend Jr. & Company’s generosity,” said Food Bank of Delaware Milford Branch Director Chad Robinson. “The donation is our largest since launching our new Produce Access Program. We hope J.G. Townsend’s kindness will inspire other local growers and processors to assist with our efforts to alleviate hunger in the state.”

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s new Produce Access Program, please contact Matt Talley, Produce Access Program Coordinator, at (302) 292-1305 ext 249 or

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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 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

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