More than 500 anti-hunger advocates gathered at the Chase Center of the Riverfront in Wilmington for a state-wide multi-generational conference on Thursday, April 6.
Organized by the Food Bank of Delaware and Brae’s Brown Bags and presented by DuPont, “Coming Together: A Community Response to Hunger,” the conference included children and adults, plus representatives from non-profit and government agencies, businesses, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, committed to 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.
The event opened with a resource fair and keynote 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.
“I often think about my mornings as a young child, foggly getting out of bed to tackle a new day at school- and I remember that the first thing that I wanted to do was- EAT. Eat a bagel with cream cheese, vanilla yogurt with wheat germ, pop tarts, or my favorite cereal,” Biden said. “Because it gave my body and brain energy to concentrate, learn, and play. And, so it is essential that every leader throughout this state dedicate themselves to supporting and implementing policies that ensure that no child goes to bed hungry or wakes up worrying how they are going to get their next meal.”
At the conclusion of Scuse and Biden’s remarks students moved to a separate venue to enjoy age-appropriate, interactive programs focused on healthy eating, fitness, the legislative process, food insecurity, gardening, food waste, and more.
Adult programs featured 45-minute panel discussions on topics including government leaders’ perspectives on the importance of nutrition programs, challenges and opportunities for returning citizens, the lasting impact that food insecurity can have on children, and limited access to healthy food for food-insecure people.
The day-long conference also included lunch with performances from the Kuumba Academy Kadillacs and the Salesianum High School Concert Band, and concluded with a JPMorgan Chase volunteer event. Two-hundred plus Chase volunteers and conference attendees worked together to pack more than 3,000 backpacks for children who are at risk of weekend hunger.
Photos by George Shea – click here to view more!