Established by Harry Keswani, the Harry K Foundation’s sole focus is to address childhood hunger in Delaware. According to board member Debbie Millman, the foundation partners with the Food Bank of Delaware to provide supplies for pantries located at Morris Early Childhood Center and the Milford High School.
“I met Harry K. when I was in banking,” Millman said. “As soon as he told me what he did, I knew I had to be part of it. If you ever hear his story, it grabs you. He talks about how he’s heard stories from teachers where they see kids stick oranges in their pockets and stuff because they’re taking it home to a kid brother or sister because it is the only food they eat. Sometimes, a kid’s only meal is at school. So 100 percent of the proceeds of the Harry K Foundation goes toward food pantries in schools throughout the state.”
Millman explained that the pantries send food home for children on the weekends as some of them could go an entire weekend without eating. During the COVID shutdown, she would go to the Food Bank twice each week, load her car and head to High Point Park.
“I parked and the kids knew I was there and why,” Millman said. “It was gut wrenching. Imagine a five year old, a four year old coming to a car to get food. I cannot imagine what it is like to have constant pain in your belly at that age. Think about us as adults, we get dizzy, we get cranky when we are hungry, so imagine having that feeling for a couple days, especially as a small child.”
The Harry K Foundation raises money using fundraisers. They recently held their 10th Annual Gala, their largest fundraiser of the year that is so popular it sells out each year.
“This is our biggest event of the year and attracts a large crowd,” Millman said. “The gala is a beautiful, black tie cocktail hour, dinner and silent auction. It also includes Harry’s touching speech and an exciting live auction. Several Delaware dignitaries also attend each year..”
Keswani was born in India but raised in England. He came to Delaware and opened Atlantic Jewelry over 35 years ago with one storefront in Rehoboth Beach, expanding the store twice. About 10 years ago, he began the Harry K line of jewelry, designing his own pieces which have grown extremely popular.
“He had a doctor that was a very close friend of his in India and he supported him by raising funds for him to give kids vaccinations in the villages,” Millman said. “When the doctor grew elderly and passed away, Harry had no more connections there but had a passion to help children. He learned that over 17,000 people receive emergency food assistance each week and that 44 percent of those served by the Food Bank of Delaware are households with children under 18. So, our money goes only to feed kids, although we have supported them into college. We have kids in our own backyards who don’t have enough food and the Harry K Foundation is fighting to end that.”
In October, the Millman’s, who own several NAPA Auto Parts stores in Delaware as well as TJ’s Auto Repair in Milford, sponsored a car show to benefit the Harry K Foundation. Millman hopes that fundraiser will be larger next year. She would also like to talk to Marissa and Zack King, owners of EasySpeak as well as several locations downtown, about a possible fashion show similar to another event held at the beach area each year.
Millman believes that a fashion show in Milford would be a new and fun event with the new boutiques opening downtown as well as those who have established themselves there like Irish Rose and Blooming Boutique. She felt that an event like that could draw a younger crowd who enjoy seeing upcoming fashions for new seasons.
“I am on the board of the Milford Chamber, and we recently partnered with the Harry K Foundation for the annual Girls Night Out event,” Millman said. “That event raised $6,000 for the foundation. We are always looking for new and fun events that will get the word out about the Harry K Foundation and help raise funds for this important mission.”
Millman explained that the Harry K Foundation currently has just one employee who looks for grants to support the mission. The entire foundation is volunteer driven, and they are always looking for more people to help them fight childhood hunger. Anyone interested in volunteering can visit www.harrykfoundation.org/volunteer/ to see what opportunities are available or call 302-226-0675 for more information.
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