For Immediate Release:
Pop-up distributions provide additional food access points as need in area rises
Wallingford, Conn., August 31, 2020 – Connecticut Food Bank will hold a drive-through food distribution in Norwalk on Wednesday, September 9, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 42 Seaview Avenue. This pop-up event will provide enough food for approximately 50,000 meals. The contactless distribution is open to both vehicles and walk-up visitors and is in cooperation with the City of Norwalk.
Connecticut Food Bank Chief Operating Officer Daniel Gomez said the distribution is a collaboration to address rising food insecurity in the six counties served by Connecticut Food Bank. “People across our state are struggling with hunger due to jobs lost in this pandemic. Research from Feeding America projects that food insecurity in the six counties we serve will increase this year by 44% to nearly 400,000 people.” Mr. Gomez said 1 in 4 children in the area is expected to face food insecurity this year, an increase of nearly 60%, to almost 122,000 children. 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 distributed each year through its network of community-based pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters. Connecticut Food Bank operates or supplies a combined number of 500 food access points across its six-county service area. “Connecticut Food Bank member agencies are doing heroic work in this pandemic and we provide these mobile distributions to alleviate some of the pressure on them caused by this increasing demand. We are committed to supporting 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 that 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 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.
Connecticut Food Bank is purchasing the majority of food that it distributes through its network and its mobile drives, according to Mr. Gomez, who said Connecticut Food Bank 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. Those donations plunged by as much as 60% as a result of disruptions to the food supply and have not rebounded. Connecticut Food Bank is purchasing food to fill the gap. Mr. Gomez said the Food Bank has purchased more food since April than it had in the prior six years. “We are grateful to financial donors that came forward to support this growing need and 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 Veteran’s Memorial Park should enter at 42 Seaview Avenue and follow all direction and safety instructions. Connecticut Food Bank will be distributing assorted fresh fruit and produce, fresh milk, and a variety of nonperishable food items. 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.