By Patricia Beebe, President and CEO
This op-ed originally appeared in The News Journal on November 16, 2016
The Food Bank of Delaware needs your assistance now more than ever to complete our Creating a Bold Future Campaign. Together, we can create a community free from hunger. To do this, however, we must invest in and empower the 117,000+ Delawareans who visited our Hunger Relief partners more than 916,000 times last year, so they no longer need our services. The retrofit of our new facility at 222 Lake Drive in Newark will bring us one step closer to reaching our goal of a hunger-free community. Not only will we increase direct access to healthy food for our clients, we will also magnify our work to reshape systems by informing and educating the citizens of Delaware about the importance of nutrition while expanding their skill sets through job training.
No Delawarean should go hungry. It’s an honor to team up with so many caring Delawareans who have always been very generous with volunteering their time, talent and resources.
With your participation in the Creating a Bold Future Campaign, we will feed more children and seniors, increase our capacity to accept more nutritious, perishable foods from retailers and farmers, recruit and schedule the ever needed pool of volunteers, and provide additional unemployed and underemployed citizens with training opportunities to provide security and economic sustainability. Your FBD will remain committed to our core values of responsible stewardship, innovation and collaboration to guide us in this initiative.
When 71 percent of our clients in recent years have reported they had to choose between buying groceries or paying their utility bills, there exists a deeper issue at hand. The Food Bank of Delaware will improve how social services are delivered in order to answer the root causes of hunger. By relocating to 222 Lake Drive, our organization will increase operational efficiency and capacity to better meet both the short-term and long-term needs of people experiencing food insecurity.
Our clients need not only immediate food assistance, but also a chance to build their skills to secure jobs and earn a living wage. In addition to bolstering our existing Culinary Arts training program, our new facility will allow us to create two new workforce development programs in the fast-growing fields of Agriculture and Operations and Logistics. By tripling the amount of clients who receive training and secure employment through our workforce development programming, we will become one step closer to a hunger-free community
The new space will also focus on community-supported agriculture and nutrition. The construction of a clean room to repackage bulk produce coupled with 40 percent more square feet of temperature-controlled refrigeration will expand clients’ access to nutritious foods while supporting local growers. It will also reduce food waste by making it more feasible for us to preserve perishable items at peak freshness.
Hunger is a non-partisan issue. Governor Jack Markell, the project’s Honorary Co-Chair, along with leaders in public service across party lines have offered tremendous support for this venture. Our organization works together with state agencies to aid Delaware’s most vulnerable community members. Our broad scope of programs supplements the efforts of Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture. State officials recognize that policymaking alone cannot solve hunger. Your Food Bank of Delaware has never shielded itself from advocating for systemic change. This boldness remains an integral aspect of our culture and drives us to fulfill our mission.
We have the chance to create a bold new future through this campaign. We must act now on the community level to create lasting change. We can’t do this alone!
The immense, ongoing support of our mission from elected officials, other non-profits, businesses, and individuals like YOU humbles us. Help us develop sustainable solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty in Delaware… During this season of giving, the gift of your time, talents, and resources is essential. We can end hunger in Delaware, but only if we come together! Learn more about the Food Bank of Delaware’s Building a Bold Future Campaign here: http://www.aboldfutureforfbd.org/.