WALLINGFORD, CONN., January 27, 2016 – More than half a million people in Connecticut struggle with hunger. For many, it is a daily struggle to put food on the table, forcing many Connecticut families to make a choice between food and other basic needs–housing, utilities or even medical care.
With support from food industry partners, like members of the Connecticut Food Association, the Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare work to alleviate that burden, by feeding our neighbors in need.
In 2015 food retailers, wholesalers, distributors, producers and growers donated nearly 18 million pounds of food to Connecticut’s two food banks, equating to 15 million meals for more than half-million people in the state battling hunger. As if that wasn’t generous enough, food industry partners also provided nearly $950,000 to help Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank operate year-round programs to fight hunger, through engagement of volunteers, community-based education and public advocacy.
“The contributions of Connecticut food industry are vital to our work,” said Connecticut Food Bank Interim CEO Paul O’Leary. “From donations of nonperishable foods to programs that provide access to fresh produce, frozen meats and dairy products, these partners help us to provide nutritious food to people who would otherwise be unable to access products such value to their families.”
O’Leary said the types of donations include donation of surplus product or produce that might have blemishes that keep it out of supermarkets, but do not affect product life or nutrition. Other donations include baked goods and frozen meats. “We are able to accept and quickly distribute products that near their ‘sell by’ dates and get them in the hands of people who need food,” O’Leary said. “These donations feed people and help reduce food waste.”
James Arena-DeRosa, Foodshare President & CEO, agrees. “Without these sizable contributions of food, we could never do what we do. And financial donations provided by the food industry are invaluable, supporting both immediate food distribution as well as our long-term work to solve hunger here at home.”
Programs focused on the long-term strive to connect people with services beyond food, offering a more comprehensive solution to individual needs. Both Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare have a desire to improve the quality of life for those they serve, providing greater stability so individuals can thrive. By increasing the public’s involvement in that work through volunteering or education, they help to build the ranks of community members who understand local issues of hunger, and go on to become enthusiastic advocates for our hungry neighbors.
Connecticut Food Association President Wayne Pesce said members of the food industry in Connecticut are proud partners with Connecticut’s food banks. “The foundation of our member organizations is to truly make a difference in the communities where we live, work and raise our families. Giving is a gift unto itself and we are grateful to be servant leaders in helping feed our hungry neighbors. Their commitment to helping fight hunger shows in the strong numbers Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank have reported today.”
The Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare are members of Feeding America, a nationwide network of regional food banks. Together, the two organizations provide food assistance to more than half a million Connecticut residents who face food insecurity each year. Through direct delivery of food and through distribution to networks of community-based hunger assistance programs, the food banks provided more nearly 34 million pounds of food in 2015.
About the Connecticut Food Bank:
The Connecticut Food Bank is the state’s non-profit leader in the fight against hunger and the largest provider of charitable food donations. Some 700 partners and programs depend on the Connecticut Food Bank as a lifeline to nutritious food for the communities they serve. The Connecticut Food Bank partnered last year with retailers, donors, volunteers and growers to provide enough food to prepare more than 18 million meals to more than 300,000 people across 127 cities and towns in six Connecticut counties. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter.
Recognized as one of the most innovative food banks in the country, Foodshare has served Hartford and Tolland counties since 1982. Last year, Foodshare provided enough food for 11.5 million meals to 300 partner programs including food pantries, community kitchens, and homeless shelters, and through its Mobile Foodshare program. The organization also works on reducing the need, with programs that help people get back on their feet and get the resources they need to buy their own food. Working in partnership with other community leaders such as the United Way, End Hunger Connecticut! and 211 Infoline, Foodshare has the experience and is building the networks necessary to help make this vision a reality.