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Delphi Wealth Management Presents $25,000 Donation to Food Bank

Delphi Wealth Management Group of West Chester presented the Chester County Food Bank with a $25,000 donation on Friday, March 1, 2019, to help sustain the Food Bank’s recently launched FRESHstart KitchenTM culinary workforce development program.

Delphi partners Kevin McDermott and John Kane presented the donation to Ranney Moran, Director of Culinary Programs along with students currently enrolled in the program. After presenting the donation, the Delphi Team volunteered at the Food Bank helping to sort and organize donated food.

FRESHstart Kitchen hosted its inaugural class in September 2018 at the Chester County Food Bank’s Exton headquarters. FRESH, an acronym for Focusing Resources on Employment, Self-Sufficiency and Health, was specifically designed to assist individuals with limited work experience, barriers to employment and significant personal challenges – including substance abuse and criminal records. The workforce development program will provide life skills to help address distinctive and significant challenges entering or re-entering the workforce.

“Support like this from Delphi Wealthy Management Group signifies a deep understanding of the challenges our neighbors face when seeking sustainable employment in Chester County,” said Food Bank Executive Director Larry Welsch. “We are grateful for this generous donation,” continued Ranney Moran, “and thanks to Delphi we anticipate life changing outcomes for our FRESHstart Kitchen students.

Delphi is a member of broker dealer Lincoln Financial Group, the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates, a prominent financial services company dedicated to helping clients build, preserve and protect wealth. This affiliation helps provide depth, stability and significant resources to clients.

Brandywine Valley Water Garden Tour Donates $25,000 to Food Bank

Now in its 15th year, the Brandywine Valley Water Garden Tour is the premier tour of its kind in Chester County featuring over 35 water features and gardens throughout the county. Since 2010, at the suggestion of Senator Dinniman, the Tour has benefited the Chester County Food Bank and has contributed over $148,000.

The two day, self-guided tour held in July offers an opportunity to visit the homes of local residents and neighbors who have created beautiful waterscapes in their backyards with the help of Turpin Landscaping, a family-owned business headquartered in Coatesville.

“The Water Garden Tour is a creative method of giving back to our community, said Jason Turpin, CEO of Turpin Landscaping. We feel good knowing that our donation is going to the Chester County Food Bank, which is an incredible organization that uses the funds to help Chester County residents struggling to put food on the table.”

“The Water Garden Tour and Turpin Landscaping were one of the first contributors to the Food Bank when we started in November 2009,” said Larry Welsch, Executive Director of the Chester County Food Bank. “From the team at Turpin, to the Tour committee members to all of the garden hosts, this event is truly a community coming together to help those struggling with food insecurity in Chester County. We are so very grateful and honored to be the beneficiary.”

Water Garden Tour Committee Members and Turpin Landscaping family presented this year’s $25,000 donation to the Food Bank at a celebratory dinner held in December. For more information about the Water Garden Tour and 2019 tour dates, visit www.brandywinepondtour.com.

5 Simple Side Dish Recipes for the Holidays

When you’re thinking about, working with and helping others get access to food as often as we are at Chester County Food Bank, it’s impossible to ignore the significance that the holidays can have for our neighbors in need. For many families in Chester County, even if they can get by week to week, the big, festive meals that for many of us are a time of joy can present lots of extra stress.

Our partnerships with local food pantries and our ongoing programs like our Senior Food Boxes, which provide nutritious ingredients to nearly 800 seniors in our region, help to ease the burden for families during the holidays and all year long.

As we round the corner to the winter holidays ahead, we wanted to remind you that preparing food for special gatherings doesn’t have to be an overwrought or expensive undertaking. Even if you love to cook, it can be hard to eke out the time or spend extra on specialty ingredients at the market. And while we all love to tuck into our favorite comfort foods around the holiday table, extravagance is not what these holidays are about. They are about togetherness, love and gratitude.

One of the things that we’re grateful for is that our favorite holiday side dishes require little more than a few veggies, a handful of herbs, a splash of milk or broth and a good recipe to guide the way. Here are five recipes for simple, affordable and nutritious holiday classics that you can bring to the table this year:

Sweet Potato Hummus: This recipe from Food & Wine puts a new spin on sweet potatoes, one of the most wallet-friendly, nutrient-dense root veggies around. For far less than the cost of prepared hummus, you can make a giant batch of this creamy, mild dip to serve before the meal with crackers and baby carrots. Bonus points for the canned chickpeas, which add a huge boost of protein to this crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Massaged Kale Salad: Though it used to be a bit more of a “health food” staple, kale has risen through the ranks of the food world to become a mainstream veggie. And we’re glad for it, too: Our farm-grown kale is bursting with vitamins and minerals. This recipe from Eating Well keeps it exceedingly simple: A quick massage with olive oil tames the kale’s crunchy texture, and garlicky lemon dressing will have guests reaching for seconds.

Classic Herb Stuffing: Stuffing can be one of the worst holiday culprits in terms of being overly complicated (think oysters, raisins, sausage and so on) and also one of the most calorie-laden. That’s why we appreciate this no-nonsense (but oh-so-delicious) classic stuffing from Cooking Light. Whole grain bread, just a few veggies and herbs, chicken stock, eggs and butter are all you need to whip up this craveable carb.

Green Beans with Brown Butter: Brown butter is an amazing kitchen hack to add to your arsenal. Just a few moments over gentle heat transforms regular butter into a fragrant, nutty, rich sauce that elevates everything from oatmeal to ravioli. It takes green beans from standard to stellar in this three-step recipe from the fuss-free cooking pros at Real Simple.

The World’s Easiest Cranberry Sauce: No holiday meal is complete without a dish of bright, zesty cranberry sauce on the table! Skip the jellied, jarred stuff and try this recipe from the acclaimed food blog Serious Eats, which uses fresh cranberries from the acclaimed food and claims to be the world’s easiest version! The fresh fruit means a whopping dose of vitamin C and tons of juicy, tart flavor.

What are your favorite holiday dishes that are both economic and a snap to make? Let us know! Check out our resource of recipes including those featured with our Fresh2You Mobile Market weekly recipe bundles.

Want to learn more? Check out our mission video, sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate food, funds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or requesting a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

Featured photo: Chester County Food Bank; all other photos: Pexels

CCFB Gets Out the Vote

As we hope you know, Tuesday, November 6, marks the midterm elections for national seats in Congress, gubernatorial races and plenty of local political races. Sometimes, midterms slip quietly by — a scenario that is certainly not the case this year. The heightened political tensions in the U.S. have led to this being one of the most closely watched and talked about midterm elections in recent history. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, voting is an important part of our democratic citizenship and a way to make our voices heard.

The Food Bank is encouraging both its employees and neighbors in the community to vote. On October 8, our Executive Director Larry Welsch released a public letter, explaining that the entire staff of the Chester County Food Bank will be provided paid time off during the working day to vote.

“While the Chester County Food Bank does not endorse candidates or political parties, we do advocate for every American’s right to vote,” Welsch said. “We feel that this effort is important to help us achieve our mission to ‘mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.”

Our friends from The Town Dish recently spoke to us about Election Day and the importance of voting especially in relation to the Food Bank and its mission.  For the whole story, head over to The Town Dish to read more about us getting out the vote. 

 

A Message from Our Executive Director: Voting is One of the Most Patriotic Acts

A message from Larry Welsch, Executive Director of the Chester County Food Bank

Voting is one of the most patriotic acts we can participate in as Americans. While the Chester County Food Bank does not endorse candidates or political parties, we do advocate for every American’s right to vote. In the 2016 election, nearly 86,000 Chester County residents missed their opportunity to participate in democracy. In a 2014 Pew Research Center study, it was reported that scheduling conflicts with work or school are the greatest barriers keeping voters from the polls on Election Day.

In recognition of this, the Chester County Food Bank is observing this election day, November 6th, 2018 by actively encouraging our staff and community partners to get out and vote. As an organization with county-wide visibility, we feel it is a great responsibility of ours to model civic engagement and encourage our affiliates to vote this year and in all future elections. The entire staff of the Chester County Food Bank will be provided paid time off during the working day to vote. We feel that this effort is important to help us achieve our mission to “mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.”

No Bad Luck Here: 13 Ways to Get Involved

Friday the 13th – a symbolic date that’s said to bring bad or good luck depending on your inclination or mood. We’d like to turn the perceived bad luck day into a great day to give back. There are only two Friday the 13th in 2018 – so make them count!

 

  1. Sign up to volunteer with CCFB: We rely on volunteers for so much, and are deeply appreciative of all the energy and enthusiasm our volunteers bring to the table. We’re finally able to get started with this year’s growing season at our farm sites. If you’re able to donate a few hours to working at Pete’s Produce Farm or Springton Manor Farm, please view our online calendar and sign up.
  2. Know the local pantries: A great—and easy—way to participate in Hunger Action Month is simply to check out where the food pantries in your area are located. Whether for your own benefit, or perhaps to act as a resource to a friend, colleague or neighbor, simply knowing where local help for the hungry is counts as taking action.
  3. Contact the Food Bank to request a speaker for your company, church or community organization: Help us to amplify our mission by inviting someone from our organization to speak to yours. A knowledgeable staff member will discuss the realities of hunger in Chester County, our work to provide food access to those struggling with food insecurity and how you can get involved to help those in need in our community.
  4. Sign up for the Food Bank’s newsletter: Here’s another great way to get involved that only takes a moment! Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest from CCFB in your email inbox.
  5. Take the SNAP Challenge: Can you eat on $4 a day? That is what is expected of many people receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) through the state. See how far you can stretch $4 to feed your family for a whole day at your local market or discount grocery store. Understanding that significant challenge can help to boost empathy and give insight to the very real daily struggles of some of our neighbors.
  6. Organize a Tuna Tuesday food drive at your office/school/church: Harness the energy of the people around you by spearheading a food drive wherever you find community. We’ve found that themed drives are often successful, and “Tuna Tuesday” is an especially good once, since canned tuna is so nutrient-dense—a perfectly shelf-stable protein source that kids and adults love. Another great theme is a “spaghetti dinner” food drive. Collect pasta, canned sauce, canned tomatoes and spices like garlic powder and oregano in plastic jars.
  7. Brown-bag your lunch and donate what you would spend on lunch to the Food Bank: Even the thriftiest lunch out adds up. So whether you’d normally spend $3 or $13 buying lunch at a convenience store or cafe, kick it old school with a brown-bag lunch as many days each week as possible. Add up what you saved and donate to the CCFB! Our purchasing power allows us to stretch your dollar in amazing ways.
  8. Dig up change to make a change: Collect loose change at home or around office and donate at end of the month to the Food Bank. This is a great exercise in seeing how small contributions can really add up. A quarter here, a few dimes there, and before you know it, you’ll have a sizable donation to help us further our mission.
  9. Check if your employer offers a charitable match: Double the impact of your gift by having your employer match your donation to CCFB. Many more companies offer this benefit than you may think, so be sure to inquire with your supervisor or human resources department to see if matching gifts are available to you.
  10. Get started planning for for our Better Together: Peanut Butter & Jelly drive. Join us along with our friends from the United Way of Chester County, to collect this pantry staple that is a great source of protein and easy for a child to make sandwich. The community weigh-in is Friday, June 1 and last year we saw over 27,000 POUNDS of peanut butter & jelly.
  11. Shop Amazon Smile: We know how indispensable shopping on Amazon.com is for many families. When you shop, go through the Smile.Amazon.com portal and select Chester County Food Bank as your preferred charity. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to us! AmazonSmile offers the same pricing, shipping and services as the regular Amazon.com.
  12. Color some kindness: Sometimes, it’s the little things. Sign up to decorate boxes for our senior food box program. It’s a fun activity that gets the whole family involved, especially kids who aren’t old enough to volunteer yet! Boxes can be picked up by request from our facility (depending on availability. maximum 50 boxes). Please contact food@chestercountyfoodbank.org if you are interested in this activity.
  13. Share this post! Help us spread the word about the Food Bank and our work in the community.

We hope at least a few of these suggestions inspire you to make your Friday the 13th the luckiest one yet – by volunteering!

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or request a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthful food.

Emily Kovach

Photos, top to bottom: Pixabay; Chester County Food Bank

Meet the Community Partner: Jubilee Evangelistic Ministries

Our mission at Chester County Food Bank is to mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food. We work toward this ambitious goal in a number of ways, from education to outreach. But, ultimately, it all comes down to feeding people — to help meet that most basic of human needs. We are so proud to partner with member agencies large and small across Chester County that help us distribute the huge quantities of food that we receive through monetary and food drive donations, as well as the items we buy with our purchasing power.

We love learning more about the organizations that help us bring this food into the community and make sure it reaches our neighbors in need who need it most. One such organization is Jubilee Evangelistic Ministries in Coatesville, which, under the leadership of Apostle Frank Fullwood, has been running a grassroots community feeding program since 1994.

“We felt inspired to reach out not just to share our faith, but to try to meet some of the social needs in the community. One of the ways we did that was initiating a feeding program,” Apostle Fullwood said.

This small church used to fund the program out of its own collection plate offerings, but then it connected with CCFB in the early 2000s. Using fresh, canned and frozen foods that we provide, the church now provides hot meals every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and also sends meals to the W.C. Atkinson Memorial Community Services Center (a men’s shelter in Coatesville) on Sundays. Over the past few years, Jubilee has expanded to food distribution as well, with a monthly pantry (every fourth Thursday of the month) where food baskets are given out to between 60–70 families who register. The weekly meals average about 80–100 meals, which adds up to roughly 800 meals each month! Three years ago, the church launched a summer feeding program to help kids who normally get subsidized school meals.

Jubilee also offers hot meals on major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, with local law enforcement officers and politicians pitching in to help serving and delivering meals. Deacon Ellis Thompson, who has been with the church for eight years, says, “The people who come in are from the community, and that’s what our ministry is about: helping those in need. It’s rewarding, seeing people get emotional when they see how nice the meal is, or what they get in their food box. Some people have told me, ‘I haven’t had a turkey dinner in years.’ We do this because we have a passion for it.”

Apostle Fullwood echoes that statement, saying that he felt challenged by his Christian faith to meet the practical needs of people, not just try to minister to them spiritually. “If people are hungry or displaced, they have a hard time connecting with trying to put their faith in God. The whole food ministry is birthed out of a need to meet people’s practical and physical needs, and hopefully use that as a platform to share the faith with them.”

We appreciate the work that Jubilee Evangelistic Ministries is doing in the community, and appreciate its generosity and dedication!

Want to learn moreSign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or requesting a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

Photos, top to bottom: Pexels; Chester County Food Bank, Bigstock

Wegmans Donates Over $150k and 8.5 Tons of Food

On Thursday, February 22, 2018, a group of employees from Wegmans Food Markets’ Downingtown and Malvern stores visited the Food Bank to present a check for $152,789 and deliver a truckload of over 17,000 pounds of non-perishable food.

Wegmans employees from the two local stores will be on hand to help to sort and organize 20 pallets of food, including canned soups, vegetables and fruit, peanut butter, canned tuna, cereal and juice.

“I am truly amazed at the collaboration between Wegmans and their customers,” says Larry Welsch, executive director of the Chester County Food Bank. Wegmans has been a partner with us since 2010 donating over three quarters of a million dollars through Care About Hunger. Unfortunately, food insecurity continues to increase in Chester County so we are ever grateful that Wegmans is a steadfast supporter of the Food Bank and our mission to mobilize the community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

The funds were raised during Wegmans’ Care About Hunger campaign, which ran October 19 through December 20, 2017. During the campaign, customers and employees could contribute $1 to $5 or any other amount at checkout, with 100% of the proceeds going to each store’s local food bank. Regionally, the fall campaign raised $78,646 more than the previous year and the Downingtown and Malvern stores raised $6,527 more in fall 2017 than the fall 2016 campaign. The success of Care About Hunger and donation of food strengthens each year, thereby allowing the Food Bank to serve more of our neighbors in need.

“We believe communities thrive when we all work together, and there’s no greater example of that than our partnerships with local and regional food banks to help provide food for people at risk of hunger, whether that’s through food donations or checkout scanning campaigns,” said Wegmans Malvern Store Manager Amy Miller. “We’re grateful for our customers and employees who demonstrate a shared commitment to making a difference in our communities by giving so generously during the Care About Hunger campaign each year, and for our community partners who work so hard addressing the needs of our communities all year long.”

Want to learn moreSign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or requesting a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food. 

Food Bank Community Aids Hurricane Victims

The Chester County Food Bank is in communication with our regional food bank neighbors and Feeding America to educate our communities about providing food assistance to the people of Texas and the Gulf region affected by Hurricane Harvey.

When disaster strikes, the Feeding America network is on the ground and ready to deliver food and emergency supplies to help people cope in the aftermath. The Feeding America network is actively working to help support families facing disaster relief and recovery in situations like the hurricane and flooding in Texas.

A man helps children across a flooded street on Aug 27, 2017. Houston (Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

How You Can Help

There are five Feeding America food banks located in the affected area that need your help. Please consider making a monetary donation to these food banks which are on the front lines of the disaster relief:

Feeding Texas is helping to coordinate efforts throughout the state. With your contribution, Feeding America will deliver food, water, cleaning supplies and other essentials to communities devastated by the storm.

The Chester County Food Bank stands ready to help and is currently preparing a shipment of non-perishable food with our regional food bank partners. We will keep our Chester County community informed as we are called upon to send resources to the affected region.

Credit: NASA European Pressphoto Agency

Other Donations

We appreciate your generosity and know that you want to do everything you can to help after a disaster.

Unfortunately, collecting and sending food, clothing and other household items often does more harm than good because of logistical challenges. Instead, the best way to support disaster victims is with a financial donation.

Thank you for joining us in this effort.

Meet Our Community Partner: Paul Wilkinson of Mogreena

Nestled into a little corner of Modena is Waste Oil Recyclers, a green company that picks up used cooking oil from restaurants and recycles it into biodiesel. Another company, Organic Mechanics, shares the property as well; they make organic potting soil, compost and other gardening products. These two eco-minded entities have apportioned some of their compound for container gardens, an initiative they call the Mogreena Garden Project.

Mogreena consists of nearly half an acre of container garden plots, peppered across the old industrial property. The garden manager is Paul Wilkinson, a part-time employee of Waste Oil Recyclers (he’s also a musician!), who’s been a fixture of the project for some time. Paul began as an employee at Organic Mechanics as a production manager, and enjoyed growing veggies in the containers that some of the other garden-minded employees constructed in 2009. Mogreena became an official nonprofit project in 2013, and Paul became the garden manager in 2016. “Just as the gardens have grown, I grew with them, and took the position when it became available,” he says.

In addition to being a cool project, Mogreena is a community partner of the Chester County Food Bank. Paul plants the garden beds each season with seeds and starters from our Raised Bed Gardens Program, which he says is an enormous logistical and financial help. “It’s huge—working with the Food Bank helps immensely to keep all the gears moving.”

Mogreena then pays it forward by donating back hundreds of pounds of harvested produce to us, to help continue our mission of providing healthful food to our neighbors in need. Mogreena is also host to our Fresh2You Mobile Market on Thursdays from 1:30 – 3:00pm.

Paul is tasked with helping Mogreena to flourish—not just the gardens, but also the community that’s sprung up around the project. Mogreena works with the Coatesville Youth Initiative, an organization that places high school students in different companies to gain work experience in the summertime. Mogreena oversees four students for eight weeks in the summer, and Paul works with the teens, teaching them gardening skills, as well as problem-solving, teamwork and personal responsibility.

One Tuesday per month, Mogreena hosts Garden Nights, where volunteers are invited to come help harvest produce, enjoying a meal and live music as they work. Summer fresh fruits and veggies like chard, kale, lettuce, beets, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and okra are pulled from their earthy beds, and while some is donated to CCFB, some is saved for the Coatesville Youth Initiative kids. In addition to gardening, cooking education is part of their experience, too. They are taught how to prepare and cook all kinds of dishes with their harvest—sometimes even under the supervision of real chefs.

“Since Waste Oil picks up the veggie oil from different restaurants, we’ve had different chefs come out and cook for the kids,” Paul notes. “Chefs from High Street Café, Tired Hands, La Cabra Brewing … it really helps the kids see what the garden food can become.” In July, chef Alex Shimpeno of Shimpy’s BBQ visited (read a recap written by the kids here), as did chef John Hearn of La Cabra Brewing Company. La Cabra made a great video to recap the day, which you can check out here. Every October, Paul helps to organize an end-of-season Harvest Art Party; this year’s event will take place on Tuesday, October 17 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and will feature local artists, music, wine tastings and food. Keep an eye on Mogreena’s Facebook page for more info and updates about this inspiring CCFB community partner!

Want to learn more? Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected. You can also donate foodfunds and time to help us achieve our mission. Call (610) 873-6000 to speak to someone about getting involved or request a tour. Thanks to you, we’re growing a healthier community.

The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.

Emily Kovach

Photos, top to bottom: Scott Clay; Mogreena (next three photos); Scott Clay; Mogreena