Kanefsky: Praise for Seeds of Need series, but more work necessary


As president and CEO of the Food Bank of Delaware, I applaud the Daily State News for the comprehensive coverage given to food insecurity in Delaware as part of the Seeds of Need series. As grateful as I am, I am also saddened that hunger continues to be such a devastating reality for so many in our state.

As captured by Craig Anderson and Elle Wood over the past few weeks, the harsh reality is that more Delawareans experience food insecurity today than at the height of the pandemic. Also captured are the many faces of hunger — seniors and children; essential workers and those who’ve lost their jobs; people with disabilities; and in many cases, their caregivers. The truth is none of us knows what tomorrow will bring — we could wake up with our world upside-down and need help.

On Page 7 of June 17’s paper, the Question of the Week is “How can Delaware lawmakers address hunger? With increasing numbers of poor and hungry residents in the First State, how can our legislators tackle the issue? Should there be funding for free breakfasts and lunches at schools? Should they be given to all kids, regardless of their family’s financial status? What other laws could be written to thwart food insecurity?”

We believe there are very clear ways lawmakers can address hunger. First and foremost, we are fortunate to have established strong relationships and open communication with our state’s legislators. As a result, neither these statistics nor potential solutions should come as a surprise to lawmakers. This year, several hunger-related bills have been introduced in the General Assembly that the food bank fully supports.

Secondly, we need adequate financial support to continue to serve Delawareans in need with — and through — our network of hunger relief partners. The cost of food has skyrocketed, and just like families throughout our state, we struggle to have the resources to meet the increased demand. Last year, we distributed over 20 million meals and spent over $5 million on food, even after donations and federal commodities. This is not sustainable.

Many have said the Food Bank of Delaware should be part of the state’s infrastructure. Feeding America recently released new data showing a sharp increase in the number of food-insecure Delawareans. Sadly, 1 in 8 Delawareans are food-insecure, including 1 in 5 children. All indicators point to the next three years being worse before they get better. Now, more than ever, we know our community is counting on us to be there to help. We need financial support from the state to continue to serve at this level.

We are hopeful that the increased revenue recently reported by the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council will make this a reality. Providing a sustainable level of funding to the food bank will ease the month-to-month and year-to-year burden, as we strive to serve our neighbors as best we can.

Children should be able to go to school to learn, not eat. Seniors should not spend their “golden years” wondering where their next meal will come from. Working parents, caregivers, essential workers, service providers — they all deserve to know they can plan on food on their tables and gas in their cars.

Cathy Kanefsky

President and CEO, Food Bank of Delaware

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at civiltalk@iniusa.org.

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