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Food Bank tie-dye descends on Dover’s Legislative Hall

By Chad Robinson, Milford Branch Director

Last Wednesday, May 13, 2015 was a great day for the Food Bank of Delaware. Each year, the sea of tie-dye shirts descends on Legislative Hall in Dover to share information with our legislators about the important work done by the Food Bank and our partner agencies. In year’s past, this day included visits with legislators, speaking in a committee hearing, serving a lunch to legislators and staff and even being received in each chamber with a concurrent resolution. Each of those has been worthwhile, but this year was different.

Early in the morning on Wednesday, a caravan of Food Bank trucks left from our Newark and Milford warehouses bound for Dover. All of these trucks contained products and supplies necessary to complete a packing event on Legislative Mall. After weeks of work obtaining the necessary paperwork and approvals, the day had arrived for us to complete the job. Our mission was to create 5,200 backpacks (one entire week’s worth) during our five-hour packing event on the Mall.   As the trucks arrived in Milford and product was unloaded, it seemed like the task might be too large. Pallets and pallets came off the truck and were moved into the appropriate locations to set up packing lines.

Prior to the end, state employees across Dover were alerted that we would be completing this job. Thanks to the help of Governor Markell’s office and the Office of Management and Budget, e-mails were sent to all state employees asking them to come out and help us ensure that we could provide these vitally important backpacks to kids across our state. The Food Bank of Delaware also reached out to volunteer groups to assist. Among the volunteer groups we solicited, we had more than 40 representatives from Dover Air Force Base, 20-plus from Chesapeake Utilities, as well as others from Kids First Academy and Volunteer Delaware 50+. Lyndsay Humphreys, Volunteer Coordinator, said “it was great to see so many volunteers, especially so many men and women that serve our country from the Air Force Base, come out to help ensure that we got these backpacks completed.” She continued, “I was so happy the Governor helped to kick it off, that legislators joined in and that state employees stepped up to the plate to feed children.”

Amidst all the business of volunteers moving about, we also served lunch prepared by our culinary students. Volunteers, legislators, state employees and staff dined on pulled chicken and pulled pork sliders, grilled vegetables and coleslaw. The food was amazing and enjoyed by all. By the end of the day, we anticipate that more than 150 volunteers came out to help pack backpacks, and to make it even better, the job was fully completed by 3:00 PM. That’s right – 5,200 backpacks packed in less than three hours!

The day also included many Food Bank of Delaware staff being able to meet with their state legislators to share our important work. Patricia Beebe, our President and CEO was also received on the floor of each chamber and asked to give comments. In her remarks, she praised the efforts we are making to train students in our culinary program, as well as highlighting the important work we are doing to feed children across our state. The text of the resolution can be found here.

We would like to thank all of those came out to assist in making this event possible. This proved to be a great way to share our message in a tangible form with legislators. Across this state, children are hungry and I am so glad that we put effort into this event!

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Delaware letter carriers to help Stamp Out Hunger on May 9

This Saturday, May 9, 2015, Delaware letter carriers will again Stamp Out Hunger in order to provide food assistance to Delawareans who rely on the Food Bank of Delaware’s network of hunger-relief partners for support.

To help Stamp Out Hunger, simply leave a bag containing non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats and cereals next to the mailbox before the time of regular mail delivery on Saturday, May 9. Postal customers will receive a special Food Lion Feeds plastic bag in their mailbox to collect and store their items. Food items should be in non-breakable containers, such as boxes and cans.

Now in its 23rd year, the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger effort is the largest single-day food drive in the nation.  Last year, letter carriers in Delaware collected more than 253,000 pounds of food for Delawareans struggling to put meals on the table.

“This annual food drive is not only very important to our organization, but also our hunger-relief partners across the state,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Last year our partners received more than 900,000 visits from Delawareans struggling to put meals on the table. This food drive allows us to stock the shelves of our partners just in time for the critical summer months where we see more families in need due to summer vacation from school.”

The Food Bank of Delaware’s most needed food items include:

  • Tuna fish
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Peanut butter
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Canned soups
  • Canned meats

For more information about the annual Stamp Out Hunger effort visit Volunteer shifts are still available at local post offices. To learn more or sign up, visit and scroll to shifts available on May 9.

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Food Bank of Delaware recognizes Sussex Community Corrections as Partner of the Year

Partner of the Year: Sussex Community Corrections Center

Partner of the Year: Sussex Community Corrections Center

Enjoy our last spotlight on our honorees of the year! Sussex Community Corrections was honored at our Annual Dinner on April 16!

In order to submit a grant for The Culinary School in 2014, the Food Bank of Delaware needed to identify community partners that were willing to collaborate in order for us to provide culinary training to at-risk populations.

One of the first partners to step up and commit to the training opportunity was the Sussex Community Corrections’ Sussex Work Release Center (SWRC). Under the leadership of Warden William Oettel, the SWRC “is a transition program for offenders preparing to live in the community full-time.” The desire to partner with the SWRC grew out of a recognition that there was a need to better serve those transitioning out of the criminal justice system.

The program at SWRC offers a variety of opportunities for offenders to work, both on property or with private employers in the community. The partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware represents the first culinary arts training program held off the SWRC site in Georgetown. Currently, the program is progressing well in the fi rst class with graduation scheduled for the May 8, 2015.

At the present, there are nine offenders from SWRC that are participating in the course and all nine are currently placed in internships at restaurants across Kent and Sussex counties.

The Food Bank of Delaware thanks the Sussex Community Corrections Center for its committment to workforce development in Delaware!

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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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