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Hunger in America 2014: The Face of Hunger in Connecticut

Sixty-eight percent of people seeking food assistance from Connecticut Food Bank’s network of feeding programs had to choose between paying for food or medicine in the last 12 months according to the Hunger in America 2014 report for Connecticut. The study was conducted by Connecticut Food Bank in partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization. Nationally, Hunger in America 2014 found that 46.5 million people turn to agencies and programs of the Feeding America network of food banks every year. Connecticut Food Bank has been a member of the Feeding America network since 1984. The study documents client household demographics and the challenges that Connecticut Food Bank’s clients face. It is the first study that assesses the prevalence of food insecurity among past and active members of the U.S. Military and among adult students. “The results of this study show us that the face of hunger is...
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Morgan Stanley grant brings needed support to Kids’ BackPack Program

Connecticut Food Bank was recently presented a $50,000 grant from Morgan Stanley to fund its Kids’ BackPack Program, a child hunger initiative that helps to make sure kids are fed outside of school hours. This grant is the third gift Connecticut Food Bank has received from Morgan Stanley, bringing the total to $100,000. The grant is part of the latest phase in Morgan Stanley’s more than $14 million commitment to Feeding America and its network of 200 local food banks that distribute millions of meals every year to children and families across the United States.  As part of the initiative, Morgan Stanley will award more than $4 million over three years to local food banks like Connecticut Food Bank to launch, expand and sustain critical childhood feeding programs. “We are grateful that Morgan Stanley has stepped forward another time to fund our efforts to deliver nutritious meals to children and...
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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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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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GROW Up with Good Nutrition initiative launched

Connecticut Food Bank is helping low-income families with young children gain access to healthy food and nutrition education through the new GROW up with Good Nutrition initiative. Thanks to a grant of $250,000 a year for three years from Stop & Shop’s Our Family Foundation, Connecticut Food Bank’s new “GROW!” Truck will travel to early childhood, pre-school daycare and Head Start Programs in Connecticut on a regular basis. The “GROW!” Truck is the focus of the program and currently visits three ABCD Head Start programs in Bridgeport.  Serving as a healthy “food pantry” on wheels, the “GROW!” Truck is a customized, refrigerated vehicle with shelves that are loaded with items such as apples, pears, grapefruit, oranges, potatoes, onions, carrots, low-fat milk, peanut butter, brown rice, tuna, ground beef and fish. Families enrolled in the program attend a brief nutrition education workshop before boarding the truck to “shop” for food.  They...
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An act of kindness is paid forward

At the holidays, we hear about many wonderful stories of giving back.  We were so moved by one today that we wanted to share it. We received a call from a woman named Susan who recently asked her son to run many errands. One of his stops was to pick up a gingerbread house that she ordered.  When he went to pay for it, he realized he no longer had the check.  He must have dropped it along the way. A few days later, Susan was surprised to find her check was returned to her in the mail.  In the envelope was a note from a woman named Kim who found it in a parking lot in Norwalk.  Kim wrote that she was from Newtown and wanted to return the check before it fell into the wrong hands. Next to her signature was a reference to performing 26 acts of...
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Giving Thanks to Trumbull’s Academically Gifted Students

Over the last couple of months, Connecticut Food Bank has had the privilege of working with a group of extremely bright and talented fifth graders enrolled in Trumbull’s Academically Gifted Program. The 25+ students have taken on Hunger in Connecticut as their service learning project and invited us to lead some discussions about local hunger and what they can do to help their hungry neighbors. We attended yesterday’s seminar to talk about what they can do now, and in the future to help solve the problem of hunger.  We also talked about how their service learning project could lead to a career in the nonprofit world. At the end of the class, the students presented us with a beautful card to thank us for “teaching and inspiring us to help those with hunger insecurities.” Here’s what some of the students had to say: Thank you for teaching us about hunger, it made me so much...
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Also posted in Childhood hunger, Trumbull Academically Gifted Program | 2 Comments

17 Million Meals are Now Lost in Connecticut

More than 420,000 Connecticut residents – or 12 percent of the state’s population – now have less money to feed their families. They are part of the 47 million Americans who are seeing their SNAP (food stamp) benefits cut on November 1, due to the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that passed four years ago. In Connecticut, that means 1.4 million meals lost each month, or 17 million meals missing from the dinner plates of low-income families each year. Wihin those families are 149,000 children, as well as 102,000 elderly and disabled residents. The cut means that a family of four will lose $36 a month from their maximum monthly benefit. While this may not seem like a lot, $36 provides much more than you think. It means several days’ worth of meals for a struggling family and is the equivalent of: One gallon of low-fat milk; a box...
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Increasing number of Connecticut residents at risk of hunger

2013’s “Map the Meal Gap” study released today by Feeding America, shows 14.5 percent, or 520,350 of Connecticut’s residents are food insecure, and it would take more than $239 million to meet the needs of Connecticut’s food insecure population, or $15.16 per week for each food insecure person.  Those figures are an increase over last year’s data which showed a 13.8 percent food insecurity rate, with a $231 million budget shortfall in Connecticut.   Middlesex County has among the highest food costs in Connecticut ($3.26 per meal) , with New Haven County having the highest (14.4%) food insecurity rate in the state.  In Connecticut Food Bank’s service area, 48 percent of the food insecure population does not qualify for food stamps or other federal food assistance program.  In Connecticut, the overall number is 57 percent, up 5 percent over last year’s data.    Child Food Insecurity rate on rise In Connecticut Food...
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Also posted in Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap | Leave a comment