The holidays are upon us and in the season of giving, I felt it only fitting to devote this profile as I have done for the past nine years to one of my favorite local organizations, Connecticut Food Bank. This wonderful organization is a non-profit whose mission is to provide nutritious food to people in need. Connecticut Food Bank strives to do this by supplying food products and resources to a network of member programs throughout Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties, and by promoting public awareness about the problems of hunger.
Scores of individuals, families, civic groups, schools, religious organizations and companies come forward each year to help make Connecticut Food Bank’s “Thanksgiving for All” campaign a success. Last year, Connecticut Food Bank collected more than 20,000 turkeys, more than 120,000 pounds of fresh produce and enough nonperishable food and financial donations to provide more than half a million holiday meals to people in need. It hopes to surpass this total for 2016, as the need continues to escalate in Connecticut, where nearly half a million people struggle with hunger and one in six children is food insecure.
The kindness demonstrated throughout the Thanksgiving campaign is awe-inspiring, but is also a testament to what everyone can do working together as a community. Hunger is a year-round issue that doesn’t end at Thanksgiving. You can help Connecticut families year round by making a donation at www.ctfoodbank.org.
Founded in 1982, Connecticut Food Bank is the largest source of charitable food assistance in Connecticut. Its main distribution center is located in Wallingford with a branch in Fairfield. Connecticut Food Bank provides food and other resources to a network of partners and programs in its six-county service area, including soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries and low-income senior and children’s programs. Last year, Connecticut Food Bank distributed enough food to provide more than 19 million meals.
Many food drives are held throughout the year to benefit Connecticut Food Bank. The majority of food donations come from the food industry. They donate products that are wholesome but might have some cosmetic flaw and so will not sell. In this way Connecticut Food Bank reduces food waste and is able to feed the needy. Connecticut Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. Feeding America is the largest domestic hunger relief charity network, consisting of more than 200 regional food banks and food rescue organizations. Connecticut Food Bank is funded privately, supported by a broad base of individuals, businesses, foundations and community organizations. Ninety-four cents of every dollar donated is directed toward program services.
To learn more about Connecticut Food Bank, visit www.ctfoodbank.org. Connecticut Food Bank also offers Hunger 101, an interactive learning experience available free of charge for community groups, schools, faith-based organizations and businesses to help people better understand what it means to be food insecure. Hunger 101 presentations are available at the food bank or at your organization. Tours of the distribution centers are offered after the holidays. What a great idea for a class trip (ATTENTION TEACHERS)! Hunger 101 is also available to groups touring the Wallingford and Fairfield distribution centers. Connecticut has many households grappling with hunger, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap data recently released. Nearly 500,000 people in our state struggle to put food on their tables.
Everyone can help fight against hunger! Donate food, raise funds, volunteer, host friends or neighbors who are down on their luck to a meal (don’t forget our senior citizen population on fixed incomes). Encourage political leaders to be more involved in fighting hunger in our country, support businesses that donate to hunger related efforts, be mindful of waste at home, and last, but not least, teach your children to be compassionate to those less fortunate.
Connecticut Food Bank – headquarters & distribution center – 2 Research Parkway, Wallingford, CT 06492 – Phone 203-469-5000; Fax 203-469-4871; Fairfield distribution center – 74 Linwood Avenue, Fairfield, CT 06824 – 203-256-1935; Fax 203-256-1648 – Website: ctfoodbank.org. Keep up-to-date about Connecticut Food Bank and hunger issues by following them at their website or www.facebook.com/ctfoodbank or www.twitter.com/ctfoodbank.
Final notes: We can’t justify people living with hunger and must do all we can to change this. You don’t need a reservation to donate food throughout the year. Each dollar donated provides enough food for two meals. For $45, Connecticut Food Bank can feed a person for a full month. Let’s carry our resolve to help throughout this holiday season and beyond. Happy Thanksgiving to all our loyal readers and supporters of the Orange & Woodbridge Town News. Remember to support our local family owned businesses as they are the backbone of our community and our great nation.