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Supporter of the Year donates Real Estate Services

Supporter of the Year: Michael Haritos, Keller Williams Realty

Supporter of the Year: Michael Haritos, Keller Williams Realty

Today we continue our spotlight on this year’s honorees from last week’s annual dinner!

Imagine the surprise when Patricia Beebe, our President and CEO, learned in early 2014 that the Food Bank of Delaware inherited $100,000 and a home owned by a deceased Newark woman who once depended on emergency food services.

It was determined that the best way to handle the inheritance was to sell the home. The first realtor who came to mind was Michael Haritos of Keller Williams Realty in Newark.

Michael has been a long-time supporter of the Food Bank of Delaware. In just the past three years, Keller Williams Realty in Newark has donated more than 20,000 pounds of food.

The food is collected at continuing education workshops that are held several times a year. Michael was generous enough to offer his services and donate both his and the brokerage’s commission back to the Food Bank. In December he presented us a check for $6,000! This donation has allowed us to provide 12,000 meals to Delawareans in need.

Thank you, Michael, for your commitment to a community free of hunger!

Are you interested in making a different in the community? Visit to learn more about how you can get involved!

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Two volunteers lauded for their contributions to our mission

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

The Food Bank of Delaware’s Annual Dinner is an opportunity to recognize those who support our vision of a community free of hunger. On Thursday, April 16 we celebrated our top supporters at the Milford facility, and over the next couple of days, we’ll be highlighting the work of this year’s honorees.

We simply could not accomplish our goals without the help of loyal and dedicated volunteers. Two of them shared the Volunteer of the Year 2015 honors.

There were two winners this year because both of these gentlemen are so committed, they each deserve the honor, so in alphabetical order:

Volunteer of the Year: James Buford

Volunteer of the Year: James Buford

James Buford, known has Mr. James, has volunteered at the Newark branch since 2011, logging more than 1,500 hours of service.

Because he has been willing to help wherever and whenever there’s a need he is “truly a leader among Food Bank of Delaware volunteers,” said CEO Pat Beebe. He assists at most of the mobile pantries in New Castle County, does program outreach, is site coordinator for seven senior meal box site, and does most of the site monitoring for our Senior Nutrition Program in New Castle County.

In addition to all that hard work, he is known for having a friendly smile and treating people with dignity and respect.

Volunteer of the Year: Rich Simpson

Volunteer of the Year: Rich Simpson

Rich Simpson volunteers five days a week in the kitchen at the Newark facility, and has donated more than 467 hours since 2013.

His willing service helps make sure Delaware children have access to after-school and summer meals. Each day, he pulls out the food needed for the day, and then he sets up an assembly line for other volunteers.

He, too, is described as a leader because he has the skills to guide other volunteers, unload orders, and fill out appropriate paperwork and answer questions.

“Rich is dependable and committed,” Pat told those attending this year’s dinner.

The bottom line is that the Food Bank of Delaware relies on volunteers to get the job done, and there’s always room for more willing hands and big hearts. Volunteers can help in many ways, including sorting and packing, preparing children’s meals and assisting with clerical duties, just to name a few.

Visit to see how you can help, then sign up to join our volunteer team.

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Children and adults to “Come Together” for state’s first-ever multi-generational anti-hunger conference


Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, will provide morning keynote remarks.

Hundreds of anti-hunger advocates will gather at the Chase Center on the Riverfront on Monday, May 4 as part of the state’s first-ever multi-generational anti-hunger conference.

The conference, presented by the Food Bank of Delaware, Brae’s Brown Bags and the Food Research and Action Center, is entitled Coming Together: A Community Response to Hunger to reflect that it takes everyone – children, adults, nonprofits, government entities, businesses, faith-based organizations, educational institutions and others – working together to end hunger in our communities.

“What started as a gathering of local anti-hunger advocates two years ago, has grown into a conference where real community change is happening,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “As a result of past conferences, we have made great strides to increase participation in school breakfast, action to increase the amount of fresh produce for low-income Delawareans and more. With the inclusion of children in this year’s conference, we know we can all work together, regardless of age, to make meaningful change.”

The all-day conference will feature programming for both adults and children. The morning Coming Together Political Town Hall will feature prominent state democrats and republicans including State Senator Bryan Townsend, State Representative Helene Keeley, Senator Colin Bonini and State GOP Chairman Charlie Copeland. The town hall will feature hunger and poverty-related questions from school-aged children representing Delaware’s three counties.

At the conclusion of the political town hall, kids will be dismissed to their own programming focused on healthy eating, fitness, the legislative process, food insecurity, gardening and food waste and more.

“I think want I want most out of the conference 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 hope the conference will inspire others kids to get involved.”

The morning will also feature a children’s nutrition panel for adults with representatives from USDA, the Harry K Foundation, Delaware Department of Education, Share Our Strength, New York City Coalition Against Hunger and the Food Research and Action Center. At that time, the Food Bank of Delaware will also announce the winners of its first-ever school breakfast challenge.

Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Former Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden and Dr. Sandra Hassink, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, will provide keynote remarks during the morning and lunchtime hours. Afternoon breakout sessions will focus on military families and veterans, workforce development and agriculture.


Dr. Sandra Hassink, President, American Academy of Pediatrics, will provide keynote remarks during the lunchtime hour.

When: Monday, May 4; 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison Street, Wilmington, 19801

Registration: Registration is $40/person and includes a continental breakfast and lunch; price increases by $10 after April 17

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Registration/continental breakfast/exhibits
Christina Ballroom

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Opening remarks
Keynote remarks – Speaker TBD
Riverfront Ballroom

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Riverfront Ballroom
Adults and children
Coming Together: A Political Town Hall Meeting

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Kids are dismissed to kids track for remainder of day

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Riverfront Ballroom
Announcement of School Breakfast Challenge winners and Children’s Nutrition panel

12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Riverfront Ballroom
Keynote remarks from Dr. Sandra Hassink, President, American Academy of Pediatrics

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Afternoon adult workshops in breakout rooms

Panel: Workforce Development
Panel: Hunger and Harvest
Panel: Saying “Thank You” – Meeting the Needs of Military Families and Veterans

3:00 p.m.
Closing remarks
Riverfront Ballroom

3:15 p.m.

Backpack Program packing event and happy hour sponsored by JPMorgan Chase
Governor’s Hall

Thank you sponsors:

AARP Delaware


Bank of America


Agilent Technologies
Christiana Care
Giant Food
Harvey Hanna & The Delaware Kids Fund
Highmark Delaware
Ruth Mayer
Zakat Foundation

Complete panel descriptions and speakers, registration and more information can be found at

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End of Summer Blog

by Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Interning at the Food Bank of Delaware has been one of the more unique experiences in my life. The definition of the “Communications Intern” is a broader job description than I originally thought, but it turned out to make this summer interesting and eye-opening in the best way possible. Between the blogs I wrote, the places I visited, and the people I met, I’ve learned about so many different things this summer that I never even knew existed.

Going into my first day at the Food Bank of Delaware, I was only expecting to learn about the different aspects of the Communications field. My boss, Kim Turner, did an awesome job showing me all the different aspects of marketing, promotion and communications. Between learning how to work with Adobe programs like InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, and writing multiple different blogs of my own throughout the summer, I have picked up computer and writing skills that I not only wanted to learn, but needed to learn. While all of these skills were awesome to learn, I think the coolest part about my job were the field trips we went on throughout Delaware.

My more valuable experiences as the Communication Intern came from our trips to different sites. Kim and I traveled almost every week, and we went to different places to view our distribution sites, Grab and Go programs, and even to the other branch of the Food Bank. Between going to Wilmington, other places in Newark, and travelling downstate, my experiences enlightened me thoroughly on how present hunger is not only in the state of Delaware, but throughout our country.

My experience here at the Food Bank was not only important in learning skills for my career path in the future, but also contained the priceless experiences I wouldn’t have been a part of anywhere else. I would like to say thank you to the Food Bank of Delaware for this opportunity, and for not only equipping me with the tools to move forward in my career, but for also making this internship a once in a lifetime experience!


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Grab and Go Spotlight: Sparrow Run

By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

Hunger in our community is prevalent, especially during the summer months when school is not in session. For thousands of Delaware kids, meals served at school are sometimes their only source of nutritious food. Now that the school year is over, so are these meals. Fortunately, Giant Food has sponsored our Grab and Go summer meal program that allows children to pick up their meals and take them home to enjoy.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit Sparrow Run, a neighborhood in Bear. Child Inc. runs the Sparrow Run Grab and Go program and provides services to at-risk children and their families.

CHILD Inc. Program Manager Victoria Schetrom organizes the meal program at Sparrow Run. She says she is known as the “lunch lady” of the neighborhood!

One-hundred-eighty-four kids pick up breakfast and lunch each weekday between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The kids love the Grab and Go format because they are able to eat their lunch at home versus sitting at the community center’s outdoor picnic table. (As you can imagine, some days are just simply too hot for an outside meal!)

When we visited Sparrow Run both kids and their parents were lined up to pick up their meals. A reusable insulated bag was provided by the Food Bank at the beginning of the program, and each day, kids return with their bag to receive their next round of meals. Coolers line Child Inc.’s driveway and a dedicated youth volunteer and a Child Inc. employee distribute the meals, a breakfast and lunch for each participant.

Just by looking at the faces of the kids, I could tell they love picking up their Grab and Go meals. In addition to distributing meals, Child Inc. also provides a great environment for families of Sparrow Run and surrounding communities on Route 40 in Bear.

Thank you, Giant, for making the Grab and Go meal program possible!

To learn how we are serving the needs of children this summer, please visit




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Growing Fresh Produce at Penn Farm

By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern


As we all know, fruits and vegetables are a very important part of our daily diet. Unfortunately, for many families across the state, accessing produce proves to be difficult. Thanks to our partnership with Penn Farm and other local farmers, that will hopefully change.

According to Delaware Greenway’s website, “the Historic Penn Farm is a 310 year old, 112-acre private urban land trust of the Trustees of the New Castle Common, managed by Delaware Greenways, Inc.”

In addition to the plot of land tended by volunteers and staff from the Food Bank, William Penn High School students also have a plot of land that they tend to.

According to Dan Reyes, Coalition to End Hunger Coordinator here at the Food Bank, the main goal of Penn Farm is to “improve and increase role of produce in distribution.” He adds that the Food Bank is working to create dynamic, sustainable partnerships with food pantries in the area by donating fresh produce grown on the farm.

Operations at Penn Farm are currently in their first year. The farm is modeled after a program at the Chester County Food Bank, where their main focus is getting fresh produce out into the community.

Our plot of land consists of many different types of produce, including cabbage, kale, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, beets, watermelon and cucumbers. All of the work is done by a team of volunteers and our Agriculture Intern, Sara Somers. Last week alone, volunteers harvested 125 pounds of cabbage and kale. Peppers will be ready next for harvesting.


The produce grown at Penn Farm is helping us gain experience in storing our own produce, as well as providing Delawareans in need the opportunity to receive fresh, locally-grown produce. This farm helps us, as well as community members, think about hunger on a larger scale and how it is connected with farming and agriculture. Concepts like Penn Farm and community produce donations

really do help in improving the healthy diets of those in need.

To view volunteer opportunities at Penn Farm, please click here, to learn more about donating produce, please click here.049058

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Partner Spotlight: Zion Lutheran Church

By Kevin Crean, Communications Intern

As the Communications Intern for the Food Bank of Delaware, my boss and I take field trips every sooften so I can see the different aspects of how the Food Bank of Delaware works and serves our community. On Tuesday, Kim and I visited the food pantry at Zion Lutheran Church in Wilmington. Zion’s food pantry is operated by our partner,Lutheran Community Services.

The food pantry is a well-oiled machine run by Minnie McGuire.  As the coordinator, she manages the back office, the kitchen pantry and the client interactions. When I arrived, they were in the midst of distribution. I first met Minnie and Sandy Betley, Programs Director for Lutheran Community Services.

Minnie says Zion serves people of all different backgrounds. Many are seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Volunteer Anne assists Minnie in the office by taking phone calls from referring agencies, managing the incoming paperwork, and keeping track of the clients served.

Anne has been volunteering with the food pantry for more than 10 years and remembers shopping at the local grocery store in order to stock the shelves of the pantry. Thanks to Zion’s partnership with Lutheran Community Services at the Food Bank of Delaware, they are able to use the resources of both agencies to make sure their clients’ needs are met.


“I do it because I think I am helping people,” she says.

After learning more about how Zion handles paperwork, we proceeded to the kitchen where I met Richard, who was the only volunteer available to pack bags full of household food staples. Richard and his wife utilize food assistance services, and he told me that he loves volunteering at the Zion Food Pantry. He said, “After all they’ve done for me, this is how I can give back.”

From my visit, I learned that each food closet of the Food Bank of Delaware operates differently. Some pantries provide pre-packed bags or boxes, while others provide families with the opportunity to choose from a variety of items.

At Zion, clients must sign in upon arrival. Clients are referred to Zion from local organizations
and state agencies. Referral papers are organized in the office and then brought back to the kitchen, where bags are stocked with the required groceries that meet the clients’ needs. Their food is delivered to them in the main lobby, and their name is checked off in the book after they sign a release form that they have received their food.

While in the waiting area for the clients, Kim and I encountered a young woman named Lisa, and she told us her story. Lisa is a single mother of three children. Unfortunately, her children’s father does not help to support the kids.  She has been in and out of school, trying to complete a degree in psychology, while supporting her children. Lisa also told us that the summer is the most difficult time for affording food, because her children are home and out of school. Providing two extra meals each day during the summer adds an extra expense to her household budget.

“My job is to stress out,” she explains.  “My kids’ job is to go out and get a good education and live a better life than I do. I do the struggle for them
, by walking to the food pantry.”

Lisa says there have been times when she has skipped meals in order to provide her children a full nutritious meal.

Visiting the Zion Food Pantry in Wilmington was a very enlightening experience and shows the important role the Food Bank of Delaware and its network of partners play in the community.

If you are in need of emergency food assistance or know someone in need, please dial 2-1-1 for Delaware 2-1-1. They will refer callers to a local organization that can assist.



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