Get to know the town: Chad Robinson

ChadName: Chad Robinson

Age: 32-years- old

Occupation: Milford Branch Director for the Food Bank of Delaware

Educational background: Woodbridge High School in 2001, Wesley College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 2005 and Wilmington University with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2010.

Hometown: Harrington

Tell us about volunteering?

“I am the EMS financial secretary for the Harrington Fire Company. I’ve been a member there for probably 5-7 years and I am a member of the Harrington Lions Club. I’m the assistant director for the Delaware State Police program, past-president for Alumni Association at Wesley, past-president for the United States Senate Youth Association, lay leader at Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrington and a past- chair for the 30th district democratic committee.”

How did you become involved in politics?

“I have been involved in democratic politics since I was about 12. I had great mentors in the name of Bobby and Ruth Ann Messick. I just knew from an early age I wanted to be involved in politics. They took me around and showed me how it works. It was a great way for a young kid who might not have had those opportunities. My family wasn’t involved politically. But it is neat looking back now and seeing them take -kid under their wing to meet people. It’s very easy to get involved in that way.”

Why stay involved?

“It’s fun when you get involved in that kind of stuff and know you can play a role in making a change. The essence of the government should be about the people. It’s about us, but people feel it’s too far away for them and not easy to access. The same is true for this [hunger]. People see that hunger is so far away. It’s on TV or it’s in the child in Ethiopia who is malnourished. But it’s here, too.”

Tell us about your role at the Food Bank?

“I oversee general operations for Kent and Sussex counties. We have a staff here of about 20 or so here. I do the SNAP outreach program, culinary training and volunteer programs here in Milford and I oversee all of advocacy and public policy issues.”

Tell us why the Food Bank gets involved politically?

“It’s unfortunate that there’s a need for food banks to begin with. We produce enough food in this country for no one to be hungry. However, we don’t do the best job in getting that food to people. The hunger movement really has to get engaged in policy. We seek to be a community free of hunger. We need our political leaders know to that our people are having trouble accessing food. They need a better grasp of the issue, what programs and what exactly we do here.”

What do you do there?

“We had 19,000 visits last year from volunteers. We do culinary training now. If I can teach people how to get a job when they’re on assistance, maybe they can get off of assistance. We feed kids after school every day. We feed seniors. And we offer programs to the federal government that they can’t run themselves. We’re the local person responsible in doing that. So we have to be engaged in public policy, in that level of work, because the political world needs to understand what it takes to do this at the local level.”

What current issues is the Food Bank working on?

“The Food Bank is currently working with the legislature on a couple of issues, but probably the biggest among them is school breakfast and increasing access and participation to school breakfast across the state.”

Why is that important?

“We know that breakfast is the most important meal in the day. By kids having a good breakfast, we see attendance rates and test scores go up while behavior problems go down. We [the Food Bank] are seeing these kids either way. We’re all talking about the same group of people. We’re working with the Delaware State Education Association and a couple of members of legislature to put forward a bill that would allow for free breakfasts for all students.”

Tell us how you got involved in fire company?

“Politically, I was working for Harold Brode, the Kent County Register of Wills, who is very involved in the fire service. I never saw myself engaged in the fire company growing up. I never had a desire to run into a burning building or anything of that nature. But Harold was very in tuned to say that it takes a lot of people to make the fire service work. After we finished up his campaign, I joined the Harrington Fire Company. I mean, sometimes I get to thinking how many times have we needed a chaplain? I do that. We want to take pictures; I’m the company photographer. There’s lots of things to do. I would encourage a person to not just assume it to be that I have to get on the back of a fire truck and run into a burning building.”

Tell us about your family?

“I live in Harrington. We grew up between Greenwood and Farmington. My mom lives with me now. Dad passed away in 2008 from cancer. We feel like we lost him too soon, but there’s been lots of life lessons and everything in the time that we had him. I credit a lot of everything to my parents. I have a sister in Harrington, April, and my nephew Jeremy is a junior at Polytech. I have a wonderful extended family. Mom and Dad’s closest friends Larry and Leia are my Godparents. They still live in Harrington. They have two daughters who are like family, and their husbands.”

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