Fighting Hunger in Our Community – Food Bank of Delaware

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It can be assumed that the Food Bank of Delaware gets a little busier around the holidays each year but recently there has been an increase in the demand for food services that is not associated with a certain time of year or even demographic.  Crystal Timmons, Branch Manager in Milford, has seen a change in the types of people that ask for assistance from the Food Bank of Delaware.  “It has changed from the child living in the streets dirty, to the unknown face down the street.  With forecloses and unemployment at its highest point, people are faced with many unknowns in today society,” Crystal stated. 

Just here in Delaware the local food banks feed over 241,000 people a year, out of a population of 885,122.  Of this, 41 percent of these are children.  Families and individuals who once donated their food, funds and time now need assistance themselves.  The demand for food assistance in Kent and Sussex Counties has sharply increased.

Since 1995 the Food Bank of Delaware has been distributing food to the community of Milford.  Their commitment is to create a community free of hunger.  Their after-school feeding program provides nutritious meals and snacks to after-school and other enrichment programs. This includes the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milford and the Milford School District.  Expanding the services beyond the school week, the Backpack Program provides food to at-need children for weekends and holidays when school is not in session. 

 The Milford Food Bank of Delaware plans to construct and open a Culinary School that will provide job training to unemployed and underemployed individuals.  This 12-week program includes 10 weeks of hands-on training in basic and high-end kitchen skill and safe food handling skills.  Two weeks of the school will be reserved for an internship at a food service company, restaurant, or catering business.  The goal of the program is to “empower students to lift themselves out of poverty through education and obtain employment that will allow them to make a living wage,” stated Mrs. Timmons.  Employment is one benefit of this program but the education will also allow individuals to increase their food budget by showing students how to prepare food for beyond just one meal.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Milford Food Bank of Delaware. To date volunteers at the Milford branch have donated over 11,000 hours.    Mrs. Timmons admits that the food bank would not be able to feed so many people without the “support of our volunteers and the strength of our program.”  With a strong volunteer effort the Food Bank is looking forward to an expansion.  They are looking to increase storage space, double the number of volunteers each year, and produce and pack all meals for children in Kent and Sussex Counties. 

The Milford Food Bank of Delaware will be working with hunger-relief program partners to ensure that our community is hunger free during the economic downturn.  For more information contact Milford Branch Manager Crystal Timmons at ctimmons@fbd.org or visit http://www.fbd.org/.