Let’s call her Miranda. She’s in 6th grade. She has three younger brothers. Her parents both work, but their paychecks often don’t stretch far enough to cover the cost of rent, utilities, transportation – even to go to work, child care, and food.
She is an example of the nearly one in five children in Delaware living with food insecurity. At the Food Bank of Delaware, we know that a life with hunger means more than running out of cereal for breakfast. As a member of Feeding America, a national not-for-profit organization, the Food Bank serves children, and their families, through a variety of hunger-relief programs. We are aware that poor nutrition during infancy and childhood can have a lifelong impact on physical and mental health as well as academic performance. Teachers, pediatricians, school counselors, and national research tell us this.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has included food insecurity (and neglect), as one of 10 identifiable Adverse Childhood Experiences. Children (and adults with high ACEs scores) are at higher risk for physical and mental illness, including – but not limited to heart disease and depression.
Thanks to the generous support of volunteers and donors, the Food Bank of Delaware offers age-specific programs for families to assist parents of infants through high school. Trained nutritionists offer WIC Outreach at state service centers and child-care facilities. Thanks of Food Bank advocacy efforts, school-age children are eligible to have free breakfasts and lunch at school.
In addition, the Food Bank distributes weekend meals to children through our Backpack Program. In the 2016-17 school year, we distributed 155,681 backpacks through 135 sites. We also offer after-school nutrition to at-risk students participating in academic or sports activities. Last year, we distributed 211,969 meals to those students. We also teach children how to recognize healthy foods and how to prepare their own nutritious snacks through our SNAP Education efforts.
So, how can you help the Food Bank help your neighbors?
Volunteer or donate food, funds, time. Every little bit helps, and we offer opportunities for everyone. Visit www.fbd.org to see what you can do to improve the quality of life for Delaware children.