Looking across the state, it would be hard to find a company that has invested more in the community where they are based than Harvey Hanna in the town of Newport.
And that’s an assertion that would have easily held up before the real estate development and hospitality firm announced plans to acquire and overhaul the long-dormant site of the former General Motors plant on Boxwood Road.
Harvey Hanna cares about its roots and despite expanding business interests that have stretched into Sussex County and neighboring states, the company continues to prioritize being a good neighbor in their blue-collar hometown of 1200 that has faced its share of economic challenges.
We caught up with Harvey Hanna vice president of marketing and Delaware KIDS Fund Executive Director Ryan Kennedy to talk about the company’s commitment to Newport and the 9thAnnual Delaware KIDS Fund (Kids In Distressed Situations) 5K, slated for this Saturday, August 4. The KIDS Fund, a company-supported foundation, will be directing all money raised from this year’s race to build and stock a new food pantry at Richey Elementary School.
TSD: You’ve been strong supporters of the Newport community, most recently last year’s coat drive. How did you decide to make the school’s food pantry the beneficiary of this year’s 5K?
Kennedy: We decided to dedicate this year’s 5K proceeds to Richey Elementary because quite simply, they need it. The brand-new food pantry will serve as a critical resource for the population in need within the school.
I first learned about Richey Elementary a few years ago when our company donated a few iPads for Mrs. Johnson’s special ed class. We learned there is a large percentage of students living at or below the poverty line in the school. We have developed an admiration for the inspirational group of teachers, administrators and students leading the school.
As members of the community, it’s our duty to pitch in and help out in any way possible. The school is beautiful, the teachers work incredibly hard, the atmosphere is positive, yet there are hundreds of students struggling on a day to day basis. If we support them today, we are all setting ourselves up for strong and healthy communities twenty years from now. Children are the future. A new resource like this could inspire a child or increase their self-confidence significantly.
TSD: You predict that race proceeds could actually stock the pantry for three years?
Kennedy: Correct. This is our ninth annual 5K in Newport. So we have a pretty good idea of what the proceeds will look like between sponsorships and race registration. We are partnering with the Food Bank of Delaware to help stock, replenish and deliver food for the pantry on a weekly basis. The costs associated for the first year, including providing food, stocking the pantry and actually building the pantry (shelving, refrigerator, etc.) run roughly around $5,500. If all goes well at the race, we’ll be able to operate the pantry immediately — for three years.
TSD: The right, healthy kinds of foods are really critical for these growing bodies and minds —
Kennedy: Yes, absolutely. This is an important component of a successful food pantry and again, where we rely on the Food Bank for continuing to source local, fresh and healthy options for the kids. Sadly, in our state and country, there is a hunger problem and an obesity problem amongst children taking place at the same time. Food education and the importance of healthy eating habits will help fight these two issues head on.
TSD: Harvey Hannah & Associates has a strong commitment to the community. Why do you invest so much in this kind of important work?
Kennedy: Our commitment to community is something we take very seriously. We do it because we want to see our communities flourish not just for our generation but for the generations ahead.
Supporting and being active in our community is something that has always been a big part of the Harvey/Hanna families tradition, legacy, and culture. A wise man once said, “Ideas not coupled with action won’t become larger than the brain cells they once occupied.” Be active, get involved and make a difference. We owe it to our community and the children within our community. We are very fortunate to be in a position to help where help is needed.
This 5K will truly provide an immediate impact on our local children. We encourage everyone to come out for a fun morning for the entire family. This year we have introduced a new reduced fee for children under the age of 16 ($15). Thom Harvey and Tom Hanna have committed to matching each youth registration as well! Folks can go here to register and for more information: http://dekidsfund.com/de-kids-fund-5k/
About the race
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Race Time: 8:30 a.m.
Registration: 7:30 a.m.
- $25 pre-entry
- $30 day of event
- $15 kids 16 & under
Race begins across the street from James Street Tavern
2 S. James Street, Newport, DE