The Food Bank of Delaware cut the ribbon on its newly-expanded Milford branch on Friday, September 20. The $2.6 million expansion, which broke ground twelve months earlier, includes the new Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware Culinary Kitchen, DuPont Volunteer Room and Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Culinary Classroom.
The project, designed by Delaware Architects, and managed by Richard Y Johnson & Son, doubles the size of the existing 8,000-square-foot warehouse on Mattlind Way. This expansion allows the Food Bank of Delaware to increase hunger-relief programming through the creation of a new volunteer room and train adults for the food service industry and prepare meals for the food bank’s Children’s Nutrition program through the new industrial-sized kitchen.
Food Bank of Delaware Board Chairman TJ Roe opened the ceremony, welcoming guests and talking about the year-long process of the expansion project. “It is great to see so many business and community leaders here today to celebrate with us,” stated Roe. “exactly one year and three days ago today we stood here with shovels in hand for the ground breaking ceremony. The journey to collect $2.6 million for the project took a vision to better serve our neighbors in Delaware.”
Patricia Beebe, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Delaware, introduced Rita Landgraf, Delaware’s Secretary of Health and Social Services; Ellen Vollinger, legal director for the Food Research and Action Center; Senator Colin Bonini and other community and government leaders as they had the opportunity to speak with guests.
“Today, we are grateful for the services and support that this Milford Branch of the Food Bank of Delaware will provide to people who are hungry,” said Landgraf. “It is extremely important for us to work together to address the social issues that are not only impacting the state of Delaware but the entire country.” Across the state of Delaware, the food bank and its network of hunger-relief partners serve more than 240,000 Delawareans – more than a quarter of the people who live in our state.
Housed at the Milford expansion site, the Food Bank of Delaware welcomed students into its first Culinary School on Monday, September 9. The Culinary School provides valuable job training to unemployed, underemployed, clients with disabilities, ex-offenders and those in career transition. The 14 week program includes learning basic and high-end kitchen skills as well as Life-Empowerment Skills such as resume building, time management, financial literacy and interviewing. Students have the opportunity to internship will local restaurants as they earn their ServSafe certification, a course essential for those working in commercial kitchens.
“On September 9 we welcomed fourteen members of the inaugural class here at the Milford Branch and best of all, I am happy to report that the project is paid for in its entirety,” stated Beebe. “Thanks to the generosity of our community, we didn’t borrow a penny for this project.”
Guests enjoyed tours of the new facility and lunch prepared by students from the Culinary School following the ceremony. The expanded facility now allows the food bank to accommodate larger volunteer groups during both day and evening hours; a list of available opportunities in Milford can be seen by visiting www.fbd.volunteerhub.com. To learn more about The Culinary School, individuals are encouraged to contact Brenda Palomo, Culinary Program Manager, at 302-424-3301, ext 107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.