One in seven Americans struggles to get enough to eat. Hunger exists in virtually every community nationwide, including across the Delmarva Peninsula. It is that reality which drives a partnership with Perdue Farms, the Delmarva Shorebirds and the three Delmarva food banks in the fight against hunger.
Perdue Farms and the Delmarva Shorebirds have announced the launch of the annual season-long “2016 Perdue Strike Out Hunger Challenge on Delmarva” at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. To jumpstart the challenge, the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation — the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms — has issued a $15,000 challenge grant to the Eastern Shore Branch of the Maryland Food Bank, the Food Bank of Delaware and the Eastern Shore Branch of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.
“At Perdue Farms, we believe that in a country as rich as ours, no one should have to go hungry. That’s why the Perdue Foundation is thrilled to continue its partnership in the fight against hunger through the Strike Out Hunger Challenge,” said Kim Nechay, executive director of the Foundation. “This unique partnership between our Foundation, the Shorebirds and the region’s food banks has generated more than 500,000 meals to help our neighbors in need. We are very proud to be a part of such a collaborative effort in our greater community.”
As Jimmy Sweet, assistant general manager of the Delmarva Shorebirds, said, “Perdue and the Shorebirds started the Strike Out Hunger Challenge in 2011 to help grow awareness and support for a problem that is growing on the Delmarva Peninsula. Since then, we have made major strides together to keep hunger top of mind, while generating hundreds of thousands of meals to help the hungry. The Shorebirds look forward to working with Perdue to continue this fight and make Delmarva a better place to live.”
The first $10,000 of the Foundation’s challenge grant will be divided equally among the three Delmarva food banks as a challenge to involve the Delmarva community in the regional fight against hunger. Each food bank must raise the equivalent of 10,000 meals in order to claim its share of the $10,000 challenge grant. Any combination of pounds of food collected, funds collected and donated, or volunteer efforts from the Shorebirds’ home opener on April 14, through the final game of the regular season at home on Sept. 5 will count toward each food bank’s challenge goal.
Perdue has also committed to donate $10 for each time a Shorebirds’ pitcher strikes out an opposing batter (up to $5,000). The $5,000 will be split equally between the three Delmarva food banks.
The Shorebirds plan a variety of promotions to generate interest in the Strike Out Hunger Challenge at their 70 home games.
The Shorebirds have designated the season’s 11 Sunday home games as “Strike Out Hunger Sundays.” If fans bring two non-perishable food items to the stadium they can receive a general admission ticket to that day’s game for $3. Food collected from the 11 Sunday home games will be distributed equally among the three food banks.
In addition, food donation barrels will be located at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, making it easy for fans to help by bringing food items to the game or just stopping by the stadium.
The challenge provides the forum to continue the awareness and community engagement that began with Perdue’s sponsorship of the 2011 South Atlantic League “Perdue Strike Out Hunger All-Star Game” promotions. Since then, the Shorebirds and food banks have embraced the Perdue Strike Out Hunger Challenge On Delmarva to generate more than a half million meals for those in need.
“Strike Out Hunger has been a vital part of summer for the Food Bank of Delaware,” said Chad Robinson, Milford branch manager for the Food Bank of Delaware. “The challenge from Perdue and the Delmarva Shorebirds helps us to ensure that we are able to feed hungry Delawareans through the summer months. It also presents a great opportunity for families to have an easy way to give back as they enjoy America’s greatest pastime.”
“Eastern Shore residents challenged by hunger will continue to find support through community partnerships pledging to donate food, funds and their time through volunteerism in support of the 2016 Perdue Strike Out Hunger Challenge,” said Jennifer Small, managing director of the Eastern Shore branch of the Maryland Food Bank. “This initiative remains a pivotal part of the Maryland Food Banks’ ability to meet the needs of those who struggle to feed their families. In just five years, our collaborative efforts with Perdue Farms and the Delmarva Shorebirds have helped to provide Maryland’s hungry with more than 200,000 meals. This year, we are eager to continue in our fight to strike out hunger, one meal at a time.”
As Charmin Horton, branch manager of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, explains, “We look forward to once again partnering with Perdue and the Shorebirds. As the number of food insecure families, children and seniors on the Eastern Shore of Virginia continues to grow, so does the need for our programs. Through this partnership, we have been able to provide more than 180,000 meals in our communities the past five years. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to participate again this year.”
If you, or your organization, would like to get involved in the 2016 Perdue Strike Out Hunger Challenge on Delmarva, contact the Delmarva Shorebirds at 410-219-3112 or one of the three participating food banks: Maryland (410) 742-0050, Delaware (302) 424-3301 or Virginia (757) 787-2557.