For Immediate Release:
Pop-up distributions provide additional food access points as need in area rises
Wallingford, Conn., August 24, 2020 – Connecticut Food Bank will hold a drive-through food distribution at its facility in Wallingford on Wednesday, August 26. This pop-up event will provide enough food for approximately 15,000 meals. The contactless, drive-through distribution, in partnership with Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson Jr., will take place at 2 Research Parkway from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Vehicles will enter and exit the site from Research Parkway. Wallingford Police will be on hand to direct traffic.
Connecticut Food Bank Chief Operating Officer Daniel Gomez said the distribution is a collaboration to address rising food insecurity in New Haven County. “People across our state are struggling with hunger due to jobs lost in this pandemic. Research from Feeding America projects that food insecurity in New Haven County will rise this year by nearly 40%.” Mr. Gomez said 1 in 4 children in New Haven County is expected to face food insecurity this year, an increase of 50%. As federal pandemic unemployment assistance and a moratorium on evictions end, reliance on food assistance remains high.
The food distributed by Connecticut Food Bank at mobile sites is a supplement to the tens of millions of pounds each year that its network of community-based pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters provide to people in need. Connecticut Food Bank operates or supplies a combined number of 500 food access points across its six-county service area. “We are grateful to our member agencies and we provide these mobile distributions to alleviate some of the pressure on them caused by this increasing demand. Using our facility here in Wallingford is another way for us to create additional food access points and demonstrates our commitment to do whatever we can to support the community and our agencies.”
Connecticut Food Bank continues to add mobile distributions as need increases and site partners can be identified. “This mobile distribution joins a growing number of sites we are adding to our calendar,” Mr. Gomez said. “We expect to average 50 mobile distributions each month by the end of this year, up from 30 mobile distributions in June.” Mr. Gomez added that Connecticut Food Bank recently launched the Dairy Express delivery program, which provides fresh milk daily to a number of sites across in its six-county service area.
Mr. Gomez said Connecticut Food Bank has had to adjust its practices as the pandemic “turned the food bank model upside down.” Before the pandemic, two-thirds of the food distributed by Connecticut Food Bank came from food industry donations. The pandemic disrupted the food supply and product donations plunged by as much as 60% and have not rebounded. Connecticut Food Bank is purchasing food to fill the gap. Mr. Gomez said the Food Bank has purchased more food in the past four months than it had in the prior six years. “We are grateful to financial donors that came forward to support this growing need; we hope they will continue to help in the challenging months ahead.”
Mr. Gomez said the increased reliance on purchased food is a financial challenge, but it has helped to stabilize the food supply and distribution to Connecticut Food Bank member agencies. “We are now able to offer increased amounts of food to our network of member agencies, which continue to see high demand in our communities.”
Individuals coming to the food distribution at Wallingford should enter the site on Research Parkway and follow all direction and safety instructions. Food will be distributed through a contactless system and all visitors will remain in their vehicles to protect both visitors and workers from spread of COVID-19.
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About Connecticut Food Bank:
Connecticut Food Bank distributes food through a network of 500 partners and programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, and Windham counties, representing 71% of the state’s population and where as many as 400,000 people may be struggling with hunger due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to recent data from Feeding America. Last year, Connecticut Food Bank distributed food to help provide 22.5 million meals. Visit us on the web at www.ctfoodbank.org, like us on Facebook and follow @CTFoodBank on Twitter and Instagram.