302 Food Rescue addresses food insecurity
No one would disagree that everyone has the right to nutritious food. Healthy meals play an important role in maintaining or, in some cases, reclaiming one’s personal good health. No one knows this better than the doctors, nurses and staff of Bayhealth. Nutritious food helps nourish our minds, fuel our bodies and is fundamental to our ability to thrive. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are food insecure, and right here in our home state of Delaware, one in 10 Delawareans do not have access to healthy food. What’s more disheartening is that one in seven children are among those statistics.
Far too many people simply do not know, with any certainty, where their next meal is coming from. At Bayhealth, we fear the number of food-insecure households in our state will increase as households face growing economic pressures. Every day, our clinical team members ask our patients what their main concerns are as they leave our facilities to go home. Access to healthy food is one of the top three concerns they name.
Demand at Food Bank of Delaware is at an all-time high, and while the need is going up, one of the biggest challenges is getting healthy food into the hands of people in need. This week, Delaware became the first state in the nation to launch a food rescue program called 302 Food Rescue. The collaborative partnership among Food Bank of Delaware, Bayhealth, American Heart Association of Delaware and other community agencies is an innovative approach to rescuing perishable food in real time and getting it into the hands of our neighbors in need.
But ending food insecurity isn’t the responsibility of the few; it’s the responsibility of the many. And you can help too. To ensure a future where food insecurity no longer exists in Delaware, we need direct support and buy-in from many key partners. We must work together with local and state elected officials to prioritize funding for important nutrition programs. We must continue to grow our partner network to include more organizations that can share their resources. And we must find a way to engage every individual who wishes to support 302 Food Rescue’s mission.
There are several ways you can get involved:
Volunteer: Become a member of the 302 Food Rescue Crew. These important volunteer positions will be the lifeline of this new, worthy program. We need volunteers who can rescue food from local grocery stores, restaurants or retail outlets in real time. So often, perishable food goes to waste while Delawareans in need go without a meal. The 302 Food Rescue Crew members are dedicated to being on call to respond at a moment’s notice to rescue the food and get it to the Food Bank of Delaware or nearby partners who can distribute it to families in need before it goes bad. This is all done through the 302 Food Rescue Crew app – download it today or go to 302FoodRescue.org to learn more.
Donate: Every dollar donated to local food banks helps provide meals for our community. Each year, thousands of Delawareans give millions of dollars generously to food banks to help buy meals – and yet it still isn’t enough.
Raise awareness: The fight to end hunger begins with understanding the issue. Follow 302 Food Rescue on social media to learn more, engage in the conversation and share information with your network.
As longtime Delawareans, my wife Julie and I raised our children here. We have invested our lives in helping make Delaware one of the healthiest states in the nation. As CEO for one of our state’s largest health systems, I’m here to assure you, we will never fully realize that dream until we can ensure no one goes without healthy food. Please be among the first to help us by helping end food insecurities here in the First State. I look forward to the day when we can say the First State was the first in the nation to eradicate food insecurities.