Walmart Foundation donates $46,875 to Backpack Program

DSC_0619webRepresentatives from the Walmart Foundation presented a check in the amount of $46,875 this morning for the Food Bank of Delaware’s Backpack Program. This donation will enable us to provide 279 children with weekend and holiday meals when school is not in session.

In addition to the financial contribution, Walmart associates, State Representative Ed Osienski and Food Bank of Delaware Board of Directors worked alongside volunteers to pack bags full of food for the weekend meal program.

“We are thankful for the Walmart Foundation’s support of this important program,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Children are our future. We all must work together to ensure that young Delawareans have the proper nutrition to learn, play and grow.”

Backpacks are stocked with kid-friendly, nutritious food including shelf-stable milk and juice, meals such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs and beef stew, granola bars, apple sauce, cereal and more. They are distributed on Fridays or the last day before a holiday or vacation in a discreet manner at Delaware school sites. More than 5,000 children participate each week. During the 2014-2015 school year, the Food Bank of Delaware distributed 154,886 bags to at-risk children.

The cost to sponsor one child for an entire school year is $168.

To learn more about sponsoring a child for the Backpack Program, please click here.

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Culinary Graduate Spotlight: Hassan Amenu-El

Hassan (middle) with Chef Instructors Tim Hunter (left) and Sean McNeice (right)

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Hassan Amenu-El was literally a standout in the Food Bank of Delaware’s sixth class at The Culinary School in Milford.

First, it’s hard not to notice that he towered head and shoulders above his classmates, so at 6 foot, 7 inches tall he’s used to being asked about his height. He takes queries with a good-natured smile.

Hassan, 21, grew up in the Baltimore suburbs of Owings Mill, Md., then moved to Delaware to be with his godparents after he graduated from high school.

He was exploring other job opportunities; he worked in a nursing home and for a moving company before relocating here.

Ironically, it was his godparents who connected him with our Culinary School, a Delaware Department of Education-certified trade school. They learned about the opportunity last summer while picking up their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box.

It seemed like a match made in heaven, so to speak, because Hassan already enjoyed cooking at home. Shrimp Alfredo and sweet potato pie were among his go-to dishes.

And the opportunity to learn skills and participate in an internship appealed to him.

“I can make it a career. I was interested in the culinary world before school, but I didn’t have any direction,” he said.

He said he enjoyed learning professional knife skills and achieving ServSafe certification.

“Chef Tim was the best, and working with my classmates, we had to become a team,” he said.

The opportunity to intern at Dover Downs was the icing on the cake, so to speak.

During the internship, he was assigned a variety of work stations including the buffet, the steak experience, preparing pizza and cooking shrimp and gourmet grits.

“I learned a lot,” he said. In addition, and more importantly, he landed a job working the late afternoon/ dinner shift.

“My goal is to keep moving up, to go as high as I can go. I want to take more responsibilities and meet more challenges,” Hassan said.

“I recommend this (The Culinary School) to anyone I come across, anybody interesting in the culinary world,” he said.

To learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware’s The Culinary School, visit http://www.fbd.org/the-culinary-school/

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Food Bank of Delaware tees off for outdoor fun

By John Esposito, Communications Intern

The peaceful sound of a golf ball clattering against a 9-iron echoed victory across the fairway of Fieldstone Golf Club in Greenville on Monday, September 14. Monday’s skies were crystal clear blue – you couldn’t ask for a better day on the links.

Nineteen foursomes set out to enjoy a beautiful day outdoors, testing their skills in 18 holes of golf and a challenging putting contest. Most importantly, funds raised from the day’s outing benefited the Food Bank of Delaware’s Backpack Program.

Described by many participants as one of Delaware’s most-exclusive golf outings, each golfer was welcomed by Fieldstone’s courteous staff, and a representative from Calloway Golf was on hand with a special give away for each golfer. Each participant had the opportunity to choose from a putter, driver, duffle bag and one dozen balls or two dozen balls. The golfers were impressed!

After quick remarks from the golf pro, the golfers headed out! Some had purchased mulligans in advance, while others bought their way in to participate in a putting contest. Putting contest participants had a chance to win $10,000. In order to win the prize, participants were instructed to make a 10-foot putt, followed by a 30-foot putt, and later on presented with the challenging task of a whopping 50-foot putt. All golfers also had an opportunity to win a brand-new Infinity… if they got a hole in one on the eighth hole!

Unfortunately, few made it past the 10-foot put and nobody was able to make the hole in one. This did not put a damper on the mood!

To close out the day, participants enjoyed a cocktail hour featuring a sushi bar from Okura in Hockessin, passed hors d’oeuvres, a Grey Goose tasting and an awards ceremony! Food Bank of Delaware Board of Director Andy Larmore and his foursome took home the first-place prize!

Thanks to the excitement of all of the golfers, we successfully raised $53,000!

Kris Wilson, President and CEO of The Littlest Golfer once said, “The first thing golf teaches is humility, the second empathy, and the third patience.”

These three qualities are not only ideal traits to have for golf, but also in life. Here at the Food Bank, we strive to go above and beyond to achieve these traits. The smiles left behind by the golfers during the event orchestrated the smiles for the children who will receive bags full of weekend food through the Backpack Program. Thanks to their generosity, bellies will be full when access to school meals is not available.

Special thanks to Fieldstone Golf Club and our golf committee for making the day possible. They include:

  • Kevin Davies, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant
  • Mack Wathen, Delmarva Power
  • Andy Larmore, Bayshore Transportation
  • Shawn Williams, Brynn Mawr Trust
  • Scott Sukeena, WSFS Bank
  • Larry Haas, Food Bank of Delaware
  • Trevor Turner, Food Bank of Delaware

To learn more about participating in next year’s tournament, please contact Larry Haas at lhaas@fbd.org.

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Bayshore Move For Hunger truck hits the road

Have you seen Bayshore Transportation’s Move For Hunger vehicle on the road? It’s a special one, and it’s used to show that the Bayshore team is committed to a community free of hunger!

The Newark, Delaware relocation company (located right in our industrial park!) wrapped one of its box trucks with a colorful vehicle wrap advertising its partnership with Move For Hunger. Move For Hunger is a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization that connects 601 relocation companies across the country with local food banks.

To date, Move For Hunger has delivered 4,178,962 meals across America.

The premise is simple; whenever Bayshore moves one of its customers, its sales people ask if the customer wants to donate the remaining nonperishables in their pantry.

Andy Larmore, Bayshore Transportation Vice President, member of the Food Bank of Delaware’s Board of Directors and chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, said that at least 50 percent of customers are interested in donating their nonperishable goods before the moving truck hits the road.

2015-08-17 09.00.15webCustomers are provided a white Move For Hunger box to collect the goods, and the Bayshore team delivers the donations to the Food Bank each month. So far this year, Bayshore has delivered more than 1,000 pounds of food through Move For Hunger.

“People are commenting about the truck wrap and really like the design and the message that it sends,” said Larmore. “It’s been extremely beneficial.”

He points out that Bayshore is among the first in the nation to wrap a vehicle for Move For Hunger.

“Our drivers think it’s awesome. They love it and ask when we are going to do the next one,” he said. “It gets a lot of good energy. It’s a good thing for people out on the road and our employees.”

Bayshore’s support of the Food Bank of Delaware does not stop with customer donations through Move For Hunger.

The company uses its tractor trailers to transport goods to our Milford facility when needed, its team of moving experts helps deliver refrigerators and freezers to Hunger Relief Partners who are growing their capacity to store fresh foods, and the company generously allows us to use its trailers to store food at local post offices for the annual Stamp Out Hunger postal food drive.

“We really enjoy our relationship with the Food Bank,” said Larmore. “We hope to grow and become a bigger and better partner with every day that passes. It’s a great relationship!”

To learn more about Move For Hunger please visit https://www.moveforhunger.org/. To learn more about the Bayshore team, visit http://www.bayshoreallied.com/.

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Food Bank of Delaware celebrates 40th graduating class

Today was a proud day for all of us at the Food Bank of Delaware! We celebrated the accomplishments of the 40th class of The Culinary School!

Despite challenges and obstacles, six students completed the 14-week training program. A crowd of almost 100 was on hand to congratulate the students for their perseverance.

Tanya Warner, Social Services Administrator for Delaware Health and Social Services’ Policy and Program Development Unit provided inspiring keynote remarks.

“For some of you this is the start of a career. For others it’s the start of a new chapter,” said Warner. “Don’t listen to those who say you can’t do it. Believe in you if no one else does.”

Tanya shared her experience as a single mom on welfare and her decision to overcome obstacles to be successful. She enrolled in college, graduated Magna Cum Laude and started her job with the State of Delaware just two days after graduation.

“You’re going to struggle,” she advised students. “The struggle is real as they say, but don’t give up and don’t quit.”

For the past 14 weeks, the students have been developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to ServSafe certification and completing a two-week internship, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

Four of six students completed internships at La Fia in Wilmington.

“I don’t want any thanks,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “I want them to get a job and keep it. This is the only reason we do this.”

Of the six graduates, three have already landed jobs at local restaurants.

When accepting their certificates, all of the graduates were thankful for the opportunity to attend The Culinary School.

“This is a great privilege and honor to be here,” said graduate Lolita DeVaughn. “It has been a great experience. I am very thankful.”

After three attempts, Ty’Nequa Matthews shared that she had finally successfully completed the program. The audience burst into applause!

Last to accept her certificate and the class’ oldest graduate at age 61, April Selby said it best, “As long as you have life, you have an opportunity to change it.”

Following the graduation ceremony, students prepared lunch for all. The menu included lobster quesadillas, spinach and artichoke dip, Caesar salad, bean salad, roasted beef tenderloin, pasta with pesto and peach cobbler for dessert!

Congratulations, graduates:

  • Gary Boyer
  • Lolita DeVaughn
  • Ky’Juan Fields
  • Ty’Nequa Matthews
  • Kenneth Nocks
  • April Selby

To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here.

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Orchard dinner benefit wows attendees; helps FBD Culinary School

By Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

Let’s just say our Dinner in the Orchard was an over-the-top success, so if you missed it, you might want to be on the lookout for announcements about next year’s event.

The benefit for The Culinary School at the Food Bank’s Milford Branch took place on Thursday, Sept. 3 at T.S. Smith & Sons near Bridgeville. The setting itself was rustic and relaxing. Dinner was served under an open pavilion bordered by a cornfield on one side and an orchard on the other. Nothing like dining al fresco at the end of a long work week!

Guests traveled down a dirt road (You don’t find many of them anymore!) to park in an open field before they enjoyed the cold beer from Mispillion River Brewing, fine wines from Great Shoals, and a hearty buffet dinner prepared by our culinary instructors, Tim Hunter and Sean McNiece, along with students from The Culinary School.

The menu featured farm-fresh produce from appetizers to dessert, so everyone enjoyed such treats as gazpacho, fried eggplant, gourmet coleslaw and potato salad, fried chicken, steak, black bean tacos, potato and zucchini casserole and more, topped off with watermelon sorbet and apple tarts for dessert.

The Swing Noteables played music for dining.

In addition to seasonal fare, Circle C Outfit provided carriage rides of the beautiful farm setting.

Thank goodness the weather cooperated because nearly 100 guests came out for the event, some of whom drove from as far as Wilmington and Baltimore to savor a great dinner that benefits an even better cause.

The Culinary School is a 14-week training program for unemployed and under-employed people who want to enter the food service industry. In addition to classroom and kitchen instruction, the program includes a two-week paid internship, training in kitchen skills, life skills, such as financial literacy and resume’ writing and an opportunity to become ServSafe certified.

Students in the FY15 program had an 85 percent graduation rate and a 70 percent employment rate.

At the Milford branch, six students graduated last Thursday, and a new class of seven started today!

Special thanks to the Smith family for hosting us at their beautiful pavilion!

For more information about the Food Bank of Delaware’s programs and services, please visit www.fbd.org.

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A Hunger-Free Summer

Labor Day weekend is upon us, the unofficial end to the summer season! The summer is always a busy season for the Food Bank of Delaware. Our staff works hard to ensure that children who rely on free and reduced-price meals during the school year have access to free, nutritious meals during the summer months.

Thanks to partnerships with ConAgra Foods and Giant Food’s Our Family Foundation, we were able to explore new ways to deliver free meals to children during the summer months. These methods are in addition to the traditional way of distributing meals through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program!

The ConAgra Foundation’s $20,000 donation earlier this spring made it possible for us to pilot a mobile meals program. Monday through Friday, summer meals drivers Lanier Williams and Joe Matthews delivered and helped with meal service at six sites throughout New Castle County.

The mobile meal program worked on a simple premise. Lanier and Joe loaded meals and drinks into their refrigerated vans and drove to each site. ConAgra’s generous donation also enabled us to hire park coordinators, Bhumika, Calida and Tony, to not only help Lanier and Joe with meal service, but also organize fun and games for kids living in the communities where meals were served.

At each site the drivers set up tables and chairs so the kids could sit and enjoy their meal. Once the meal was served, the drivers headed to the next site to meet another coordinator for the next meal service.

In total, 1,715 meals were served through the mobile meal pilot program and three special events were held to build awareness of the free meal program to neighborhood families!

Our first awareness event was held at Dickey Park in Newark and we received a special guest visit from former NFL kicker, Sean Landeta, thanks to the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Council! A barbeque lunch was prepared by students from The Culinary School and the Food Bank’s nutrition education team hosted cooking demonstrations and informational sessions!

In addition to our ConAgra Summer Mobile Meals Program, we also finished our third year hosting a Grab and Go program sponsored by Giant Food’s Our Family Foundation.

Traditional summer meal programs require children to remain on site while they eat. However, through the Grab and Go program, children visit a designated location in their neighborhood and pick up meals for the day. At the beginning of the summer, each program participant received an insulated bag and ice packs to carry their meals each day.

Thanks to partnerships with 11 statewide sites, we were able to distribute 30,404 meals!

These meal programs would not have been possible without the support of volunteers. Volunteers helped prepare meals in the kitchen, pack meals in our volunteer room and helped clean coolers upon their return to our warehouses!

Thanks to all who helped us create a hunger-free summer for Delaware children!

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