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Connecticut Food Bank Hunger News & Advocacy Blog

Wolcott Food Pantry partners with community for support

Connecticut Food Bank recently sat down with Helen Donovan, Director at the Wolcott Food Pantry to learn more about how the pantry works with local community and responds to summer hunger. How many families does the Wolcott Food Pantry serve? The pantry currently has 152 families that are registered with us.  Each family is allowed to come to the pantry on a weekly basis. We currently serve between 50 to 60 families, or approximately 160 people on a weekly basis. What changes has the pantry experienced over the last year? We have seen a large increase in the number of new families applying for help. The increase is across-the- board among seniors, families or individuals. We have found that our clients were being forced to make hard decisions this past winter on whether to buy food or pay heating bills. How do you address the issue of summer hunger? We work with...
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Nancy L. Carrington announces retirement at end of 2014

As you may already know, I have decided to retire as President & CEO of the Connecticut Food Bank as of December 31, 2014.   When I joined Connecticut Food Bank in 1984, a few hundred thousand pounds of food were being distributed to 70 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters annually. With your help, Connecticut Food Bank has grown to distribute 20 million pounds of food each year to nearly 700 food-assistance programs throughout Connecticut. This would not have been possible without the support of so many anti-hunger advocates like you, and for that I am grateful. As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me to make.  Food banking has been my passion for 30 years, but it is now time for me to look to the future. I will remain a life-long advocate for the hungry, but I also look forward to exploring the many other...
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Monroe Food Pantry: Meeting the growing need

Connecticut Food Bank recently sat down with Wendy Jolls, Food Pantry Coordinator at the Monroe Food Pantry to get an understanding of the need in Monroe, and how the pantry is meeting the ever-increasing need. How many families does the Monroe Food Pantry serve each month? We have 228 families who are qualified to shop at the pantry but on a typical month we serve about 120 to 150 families.  Have there been any changes in need over the last year? Our needs have changed because of the increase in volume in monthly clients. Last year we saw an average of 70 to 100 families a month. We’ve also made some changes by giving out more fresh produce which we purchase from a wholesaler to supplement the products/produce that we get from Connecticut Food Bank. What are your greatest challenges? Getting the community to understand the need in Monroe. We...
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Posted in Food Pantry, Fund/food raising, Monroe Food Pantry, Wendy Jolls | Leave a comment

30,000 pounds of General Mills food donated by Ocean State Job Lot

Ocean State Job Lot continues to make a difference for low-income families who are struggling with hunger. This week 30,000 pounds of General Mills food items were delivered to Connecticut Food Bank including pasta, soup and mashed potatoes. It’s all part of Ocean State Job Lot’s Three Square Meals program, Each holiday season, Job Lot matches the dollars donated by customers at the register during the holiday season and uses the funds to purchase food for donation to area food banks. This year, a total of $4.2 million worth of shelf stable food will be delivered to food banks around New England and New York – the largest food donation by a private company in New England. The General Mills food donation comes to Connecticut Food Bank at a critical time. Children will soon begin summer vacation which means low-income families will not have access to free/reduced price school meals...
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Posted in Food Donors, General Mills, Ocean State Job Lot, Summer Hunger | Leave a comment

Map the Meal Gap: Connecticut’s food insecurity rate is nearly 14%

Nearly 14 percent, or 498,460 of Connecticut’s residents are food insecure according to the 2014 “Map the Meal Gap” study, which offers a detailed look at the food budget required to meet the needs of families struggling with hunger here in Connecticut. The study shows it would take more than $255 million to meet the needs of Connecticut’s food insecure population, or $16.87 per week for each food insecure person. Although 2013 data showed a 14.5 percent food insecurity rate, there is a $16 million food budget shortfall increase this year.  The average cost of a meal in Connecticut increased from $2.82 to $2.92 or an extra $1.71 per week for each food insecure person. Fairfield County has among the highest food costs in Connecticut ($3.31 per meal), with New Haven County having the highest (14.4%) food insecurity rate in the state.  In Connecticut 45.7 percent of the food insecure population...
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Posted in Childhood hunger, Map the Meal Gap | Leave a comment

Food insecurity among seniors can cause severe health problems

Although low-income senior citizens are at higher risk of food insecurity, all food insecure senior citizens – regardless of income – experience lower nutrient intake and poorer health outcomes than food secure seniors. That’s according to recently released research by Feeding America and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.  Entitled Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans, the study reveals that food insecurity among seniors is associated with a number of diseases and other negative health consequences. When compared to food secure seniors, food insecure seniors are: 60 percent more likely to experience depression; 53 percent more likely to report a heart attack; 52 percent more likely to develop asthma; and 40 percent more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure. In addition, the study finds that food insecure seniors are more likely than those who are food secure to have lower...
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Posted in Senior Hunger, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What does 46,000 pounds of food look like?

It was a record-breaking day here at Connecticut Food Bank when the Ocean State Job Lot tractor trailer loaded with 46,000 pounds (18 pallets) of nutritious food pulled into our parking lot! The delivery is the first of many we’ll receive from Job Lot this year as part of the Three Square Meals Family Meal Assistance Program. Each year, Ocean State Job Lot’s generous customers donate to their local food bank at the register during the holiday season. Then Job Lot matches the dollars donated by customers and uses those funds purchase food direct from brand-name manufacturers.  This year’s $1.4 million dollar purchase was divided up and delivered to 13 food banks in New England and New York – the largest single food donation of its kind by a private company in New England! Thanks to all who generously donated last holiday season.  You are making a difference in the lives of the men, women...
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World War II veteran never forgot

The following post was recently published in the Winter/Spring issue of Connecticut Food News. Decades later his memories of war are still vivid.  In a presentation to an engaged audience at the American Legion in Middletown, John D’Aquila, a resident of Long Island, told stories of his experiences as a medic in the European theater during World War II. He spoke compassionately about entering the Mauthausen concentration camp and encountering people who were skeletal from starvation and pleading for food. His unit immediately set up a soup kitchen to provide nourishment to the survivors.  “My war experience has given me a purpose, empathy, and an understanding of what is going on even today,” John told the audience. John, an attorney, has written a play, “From the Fires,” for 8th and 9th graders to help them understand the consequences of cruelty.  The play has been performed over 1,000 times at schools...
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Posted in Donors, Fundraising, Nutrition, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March is National Nutrition Month: Eating right for a healthy life

Connecticut Food Bank is recognizing National Nutrition Month this March in honor of the more than 520,000 people in Connecticut that lack access at times to enough food for an active, healthy life.  This year’s campaign theme is Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right. Food insecurity in itself has serious health consequences for children as well as adults. Children from families that struggle with food insecurity are more likely to experience poor physical health and hospitalization, developmental delays, and often struggle in school. Many of the risks of hunger are the same as those of becoming obese including limited resources; lack of access to healthful, affordable foods; cycles of deprivation and overeating; and high levels of stress. While the public health crises of obesity and diet-related diseases affect all segments of the population, they disproportionately impact the communities we serve. By providing more healthful food, including an average of 5 million pounds of fresh produce annually,...
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Posted in Childhood hunger, GROW Up with Good Nutrition, Moble Pantry, Nutrition, Programs, Stop & Shop | Leave a comment

Needy families making tough choices

Jo-Ann, an unemployed single mother from New Haven, and her two teenage children have always tried to eat healthy. But eating nutritious foods has become more of a challenge since November 1, 2013. That’s when the family experienced a $36 a month cut to their monthly SNAP (food stamp) budget due to the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that passed four years ago. The ARRA had provided a temporary increase in SNAP benefits to help struggling low-income households provide enough food for their families during the recession. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, so I clip coupons and purchase what’s on sale to stretch my food budget,” said Jo-Ann. And while Americans ought to be adding more fruits and vegetables to their diets, it’s a bigger issue for Jo-Ann, who has high blood pressure. Even before her monthly food budget was cut, Jo-Ann was struggling at...
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Posted in Farm Bill, Nutrition, SNAP/Food Stamps, Unemployment | Leave a comment