The holiday season of giving started a bit early at the Milford branch of the Food Bank of Delaware today as representatives from 21 community organizations and school-based food pantries picked up boxes of holiday staples sponsored by the Harry K Foundation and roaster chickens provided by Perdue Farms to distribute to families in need.
In addition, Perdue associates from operations in Milford and Georgetown, Del., as well as its Corporate Office in Salisbury, Md., helped pack the boxes..
Patricia Beebe, the Food Bank of Delaware’s President and CEO, Chairman Jim Perdue and Harry K Foundation founder Harry Keswani, a Rehoboth Beach businessman, were on hand in the warehouse to celebrate this successful partnership. In 2013, Keswani vowed to raise money through an annual gala, and then donate 100 percent of the proceeds to eliminate food insecurity and hunger in local children.
Since 2014, the Harry K Foundation has sponsored 15 school pantries and 561 children for the food bank’s Backpack Program, a weekend meal program for kids at risk of hunger when school is not in session.
“The idea is to not to reduce hunger, but to eliminate childhood hunger,” Keswani said, noting that this year’s benefit gala raised more than $200,000.
“It takes all of us working together as a community to meet the needs of our children,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We are grateful that both the Harry K Foundation and Perdue Farms recognize the importance of feeding our future. Kids who are hungry cannot learn, grow or play. Thanks to these programs, we are able to provide our children with the nutrition they need in order to be kids.”
Perdue also praised the mission and success of the partnership
“We are thrilled to join the Food Bank of Delaware and the Harry K Foundation in an event like this that provides holiday meals for families in Kent and Sussex counties,” said Perdue. “At Perdue, we believe that in a country as rich in resources as ours, no one should have to go hungry.” .
Tanja Levenson, a clinical counselor at Millsboro Middle School, stopped by the Milford facility this morning to pick up holiday meal boxes for families with children who attend the school. Millsboro Middle School is also home to one of the Harry K-sponsored school pantries. Levenson praised the pantry, which is literally food stored in locked cabinets.
Parents of children enrolled in the program are able to come to the school to select what they like.
“Families like the idea, and they liked picking out what they need and will use,” she said.
For more information, visit www.fbd.org.