Children and Adults to “Come Together” for Anti-Hunger Conference

March 20, 2017

Hundreds of anti-hunger advocates will gather at the Chase Center on the Riverfront on Thursday, April 6 as part of the state’s second multi-generational conference.

The conference, organized by the Food Bank of Delaware and Brae’s Brown Bags and presented by DuPont, 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.

“Real systemic change will only come about when we put aside our differences and work together to improve the condition of all members of our community,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Regardless of age, we can call make an impact. Children are the future of our society – including them in this conference shows that we value their ideas and contributions towards making impactful change.”

The conference will feature programming for both adults and children. The morning will feature a resource fair of community partners and remarks from Ashley Biden, Executive Director of the Delaware Center of Justice, and Michael Scuse, Secretary for the Delaware Department of Agriculture and former Undersecretary for the United States Department of Agriculture under Barack Obama.

At the conclusion of these remarks, children will be dismissed to their own programming focused on healthy eating, fitness, the legislative process, food insecurity, gardening, food waste and more.

“It’s very exciting to co-host the Coming Together Hunger Conference with the Food Bank of Delaware again this year,” said Braeden Mannering, Founder of Brae’s Brown Bags. “The whole idea is to really have a chance to teach youth about food insecurity and about the importance of good healthy habits. But more than that I really want to be able to empower kids, because we are change makers and we can make the world a better place for everyone. Every life is important.”

Adult programming will include four 45-minute panel discussions:

A Moderated Discussion with Government Leaders on Ending Hunger: This panel will seek to engage government leaders, from varying levels of government, in a conversation about the importance and impact of nutrition programs.  The question is what citizens can do to engage in these programs, while holding their government leaders accountable in ensuring the viability of these programs moving forward.

Panelists: Patricia Dombroski, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service Mid-Atlantic Region, United States Department of Agriculture; Representative Ed Osienski, 24th District, Delaware House of Representatives; Secretary Dr. Karen Odom Walker, Cabinet Secretary, Delaware Health and Social Services; Secretary Dr. Patricia Gilliam Johnson, Cabinet Secretary, Delaware Department of Labor Moderator: Julie Miro Wenger, Executive Director, Delaware Food Industry Council

Challenges and Opportunities for Returning Citizens: This session will focus on the challenges faced by citizens returning to the community from incarceration. Panelists will discuss what factors individuals experience that contribute to recidivism and negatively impact public safety.  Discussion will focus on how government, community organizations and other entities can coordinate to provide more effective rehabilitation and reentry services to reduce recidivism and assist individuals in rebuilding their lives.

Panelists: Ashley Biden, Executive Director, Delaware Center for Justice; Christian L. Kervick, Executive Director, Delaware Criminal Justice Council; Anthony Leonardi, Sous Chef, Plate Catering, SoDel Concepts and Alumnus, The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware; Jay Lynch, Senior Social Services Administrator, Delaware Health and Social Services; Moderator: Saad Soliman, Re-Entry and Training Specialist, United States Probation Office

Responding to the Psychological and Emotional Impact of Hunger: This session explores the idea that food insecurity can be a traumatic experience that may have a lasting effect on children throughout their lives. Discussions will focus particularly on how poverty and hunger might increase the instance of antisocial and aggressive behaviors, poor academic performances, and altered family dynamics. Panelists will offer supporting evidence from experience and suggestions for possible ways for schools, medical facilities, and community organizations to address the psychological and emotional impact of hunger on America’s youth.

Panelists: Dr. Stephanie Deutsch, M.D., Division of General Pediatrics/Primary Care, Department of Pediatrics, Nemours duPont Pediatrics; Dorrell Green, Assistant Superintendent, Brandywine School District; Dr. Sandra Hassink, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.A.P., Director, Nemours Obesity Initiative; Molly Perdue, School-Based Family Crisis Therapist, Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services, Eisenberg Elementary School; Moderator: Dr. Karyl Rattay, M.D., M.S., Director, Delaware Division of Public Health

Healthy Food Access for Food Insecure Populations: Through various sectors, we can all work together to increase and sustain healthy food access for food insecure populations. From bringing in fresh food donations/funding for fresh foods to providing additional outreach and education and increased services, we all can play a role in improving the diets of our most vulnerable communities.

Panelists: Allison Karpyn, PhD, Senior Associate Director Center for Research in Education & Social Policy, Associate Professor Human Development and Family Studies; Behavioral Health and Nutrition; Education; Tina Bradbury, Capital City Farmers Market Manager; Moderator: Dr. Nancy Cotugna, DrPH, RD, LDN, Professor Emerita, Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition, University of Delaware

At the conclusion of the conference JPMorgan Chase will sponsor a large packing event for the Food Bank of Delaware’s weekend Backpack Program for kids. JPMorgan Chase volunteers, conference attendees and members of the general public will pack bags full of food for kids who are at risk of weekend hunger.

When: Thursday, April 6; 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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

Registration: Registration is $50/person and includes a continental breakfast and lunch; Registration is available at


8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Registration/continental breakfast/exhibits

9:30 a.m.
Opening remarks

Patricia Beebe, President and CEO, Food Bank of Delaware
Braeden Mannering, Founder, Brae’s Brown Bags
April Birmingham, Coming Together Conference Chairwoman

Poetry, Hannah Sturgis, POLYTECH High School Senior and 2015 and 2016 Poetry Out Loud Delaware Champion

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Michael Scuse, Cabinet Secretary, Delaware Department of Agriculture

Ashley Biden, Executive Director, Delaware Center for Justice

10:20 a.m. – 11:05 a.m.
A Moderated Discussion on Ending Hunger with Government Leaders

11:05 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.
Break to visit kids programming

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Challenges and Opportunities for Returning Citizens

12:15 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.
Lunch with musical performances from Kuumba Academy and Salesianum High School

1:25 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Responding to the Psychological and Emotional Impact of Hunger

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Healthy Food Access for Food Insecure Populations

3:00 p.m.
Adjourn to JPMorgan Chase food packing event

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

Coming Together Presented By:


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