Food Bank Breaks Ground on Expansion

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from left to right – John Moore, Gary Simpson, Charlie Burton, Scott Sukeena, Michael Vincent, Patricia Beebe, Harvey Kenton, Mike Castle, Janet Gibbs, Bill Hetherington, Dean Johnson, Tom Carper and Martin Dusbiber officially break ground on the Milford Branch expansion project.

By Terry Rogers

On Monday, September 17, the Food Bank of Milford held a groundbreaking ceremony for their $2.6 million expansion. The 8,000-foot addition to the current facility includes a full-sized industrial kitchen designed to expand The Culinary School housed at the facility and create a larger volunteer room to provide hunger-relief in Kent and Sussex Counties.

“Delaware ranks third in the country for food insecurity according to a recent Gallup Poll,” stated Patricia Beebe, CEO of the Food Bank. “Of the 242,000 people we have fed through the Food Bank of Delaware, 42 percent of them are children.”

The Culinary School, a service offered by the Food Bank in addition to providing food to those in need, provides job training to the unemployed and underemployed in preparing food in a commercial kitchen.

“Few have done as much to help the less fortunate in Kent and Sussex Counties as the Food Bank. Not only do they provide food for those in need, the training opportunity they offer to individuals in the food service industry make the students who attend very employable,” former Congressman Mike Castle, Capital Campaign Chairman said in his remarks.

Senator Tom Carper, who also attended the groundbreaking, remarked that the event was being held on Constitution Day, the day when our founding fathers finished creating the document that formed our government as it stands today.

“The words in the preamble to our constitution are particularly relevant at this event. It is hard to establish justice when people do not have enough to eat. It is hard to insure tranquility when children are going to bed hungry. We have a shared responsibility for feeding those who do not have enough to eat,” Senator Carper said.

The Food Bank has raised $1.6 million of the $2.6 needed for the expansion, and plan to reach their goal during construction. “Dinner in the Orchard”, held Thursday, September 13 at T.S. Smith and Son in Bridgeville, raised funds for the expansion. At the event, guests were treated to a meal cooked by students at the Food Bank’s Culinary School, music by the Swing Notables, horse drawn carriage rides through the orchard provided by Circle C Outfitters, as well as beer and wine tastings from Pizzadilli Winery, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and 16 Mile Brewing Company.

“My brothers, Tom and Matt, as well as myself, are honored to help the Food Bank,” said Charlie Smith, fourth generation farmer and partner at T.S. Smith and Sons. “I know our Mom and Dad are smiling down on us because feeding others was very important to them, especially those who were less fortunate.”

Construction on the Food Bank expansion is expected to be completed by April 2013.