WALLINGFORD, CONN., October 4, 2016 – At the end of a year, a $40,000 grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has helped the Connecticut Food Bank source and distribute through its network of member programs more than 314,000 pounds of donated, local produce to hungry people in Connecticut.
The Healthy Food Fund grant supports a Farm-to-Pantry program that helps farmers harvest excess crops for donation to the Connecticut Food Bank. The Connecticut Food Bank works with Connecticut food growers to source fresh produce for a network of programs that includes food pantries, soup kitchens, residential programs and day programs for both children and the elderly. More than 300,000 people in the six Connecticut counties served by the Connecticut Food Bank struggle with hunger. On average the food bank’s member programs see 150,000 visits each month.
“This support from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation is helping hungry Connecticut residents have better access to fresh, nutritional produce,” said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau. “It is helping to relieve hunger and to support healthier outcomes for people in need.”
Beaudreau said many Connecticut farmers want to donate more produce but are challenged to harvest and transport time-intensive crops for donation. “The Farm-to-Pantry program helps us source this highly desirable and nutritious produce and reduce food waste.”
Last year, more than 35 percent of the food distributed by the Connecticut Food Bank was fresh produce, in high demand by its network of community-based food programs because of its nutritional value. “Locally grown food has so many benefits as we help our neighbors, strengthen our communities and support our farmers,” Beaudreau said.
The Connecticut Food Bank distributes food through a network of community-based partner programs, as well as through its Mobile Pantry program; its GROW Up With Good Nutrition program for families with young children; the Kids’ BackPack program to bridge the weekend meal gap for children receiving free meals at school; and a supplemental foods program for income-limited seniors.
About the Connecticut Food Bank:
The Connecticut Food Bank is committed to alleviating hunger in Connecticut by providing food resources, raising awareness of the challenges of hunger and advocating for people who need help meeting basic needs. The Connecticut Food Bank partners with the food industry, food growers, donors and volunteers to provide food, which last year provided 19.2 million meals. We distribute that food through a network of community based programs to six Connecticut counties – Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties – where more than 300,000 people struggle with hunger. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram.