By Ed Matarese, Food Sourcing Manager
The Food Bank of Delaware (FBD) is fortunate to receive support from many different types of donors; individuals, businesses, schools, foundations and more. Without this support of food, volunteers, equipment and money, we would not be able to continue our mission to eliminate hunger here in Delaware.
One of our most important sources of donations are the retail/wholesale grocery stores throughout the state. Through the FBD’s Retail Food Sourcing Program, we call on most grocers in Delaware, from Food Lion in Claymont to Walmart in Georgetown, to help us feed more people. Donations of meat, fresh produce, dairy products, canned goods and more are distributed to the families we serve who otherwise would have to struggle to put food on the table. Because of the generosity of Delaware’s retail and wholesale grocers, FBD brought in over 2.8 million pounds of rescued food to support our various hunger relief programs in 2016, a number which we are working hard to exceed in 2017.
This support is not limited to food donations at the store level. FBD has been the recipient of numerous grants from retail and wholesale grocers that help us reach our goal of a hunger-free Delaware. Just last month, FBD received a $20,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support our retail store donation program. Over the years, Walmart has also donated refrigerated box trucks, vans and insulated food carrying bags so that we can safely pickup and deliver frozen and other perishable food statewide to our hunger relief partners.
Every Food Lion store in Delaware (almost 30 stores) supports FBD in many ways, including their annual “Food Lion Feeds” event at the Delaware State Fair, a kickoff donation for our Postal Workers Food Drive and Food Lion staff performing repairs/upgrades for our hunger relief partner’s food pantries.
Costco generously donated fresh fruit all summer for our Grab & Go program for children with little or no access to healthy foods during the summer months. FBD also received a grant from Costco to help support our Backpack Program during the past school year. BJ’s Wholesale Clubs have donated refrigerators, freezers and other equipment to our hunger relief partners to help expand their capacity to feed more people.
Our “Sister Share” program enables our hunger relief partners in all three counties to make direct donation pickups at the retail store closest to their food pantry. Using equipment provided to them by FBD via retail grants, the agencies can pick up and distribute food to their members more efficiently. This also helps insure that the food donated by a local store will be distributed locally in the community that the store serves.
During the upcoming holiday season, we always see an increase in donations from our retail partner stores so that all the families we serve will be able to enjoy a holiday meal without the worry of how to afford food for a special meal. A few examples include the Turkey Round Up, Thanksgiving For All and Camp Out for Hunger.
The staff at FBD would like to thank all of our supporters for your generosity throughout the year. With your continued support, FBD will be able to relocate into our larger facility in 2018 so that we can not only feed more people, but also provide job training and skills to help them become self-sufficient. If you would like to tour our new “home” at 222 Lake Drive in Newark, please contact me at email@example.com.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!