Fairfield County is arguably one of the wealthiest communities in America. Yet, there are still thousands our neighbors going hungry every day – many are children, the elderly,the infirm, and the working poor. It’s shocking to see the need that exists right here in our own communities.
According to one study by the Connecticut Food Bank, 14.5% of Connecticut families are food insecure and they rely on food pantries to help get them through challenging times. Food pantries and other charitable organizations feed thousands of people every day who would otherwise not have the money to purchase food. Many of these people are the working poor – those who are employed full time, yet do not earn enough to live on their salary – they must decide whether to eat, or to pay the rent. Without support from our food pantries and the dedicated volunteers that manage them, these people would go to bed hungry.
This year, as we enter the holiday season, I urge you to consider donating and/or volunteering at one of our local soup kitchens or food pantries. You might be amazed to learn that there are food pantries in some of our wealthiest communities – from Greenwich to Fairfield, from Darien to Weston. Some are run by churches, others by non-sectarian community groups, but they all have one goal – to provide food to those in need.
Here’s how you can help – donate food, your time, or financial resources to your local food pantry or one of the organizations listed below:
FoodPantries.org has a list of food pantries in your community (just click on your town in the sidebar).
Community Plates (Fairfield and New Haven Counties) rescues unsold food from farms, grocery stores, and restaurants and delivers it directly to people at shelters, food pantries, and community centers in impoverished areas. Community Plates is in need of food runners to pick up and deliver food to people throughout the area – see their website for more info.
New Covenant House of Hospitality serves the greater Stamford area, which includes Stamford, New Canaan, Greenwich and Darien. Our guests are the poor and disadvantaged in our community including the homeless; working poor; elderly; mentally ill; HIV/AIDS clients; the disabled and immigrants, both with and without citizenship documentation. They also provide meals for children both before and after school. They currently serve 425 meals per day – a number that has doubled since 2009.
The FoodBank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to more than 85 non-profit agencies and programs that serve low income people in our six town service area through bags of groceries and congregate meals. These include soup kitchens, food pantries, child care programs, homeless shelters, senior centers, domestic violence safe houses, and rehabilitation programs. During 2012, The Food Bank distributed 2,047,653 pounds of food to its member agencies. These agencies reported serving over 4 million meals to 162,854 individuals during this period.
The Connecticut Food Bank is the largest centralized source of emergency food in Connecticut and distributes an average of 36 tons of food every business day through three warehouses in East Haven, Fairfield and Waterbury, and affiliated distribution centers in New London and Stamford.
Operation Hope – Fairfield based Operation Hope’s Food Pantry provides over 123,000 meals a year to our neighbors in need. Each month they provide food to more than 200 families, including 100 children. The Pantry is almost completely stocked and run by generous and dedicated volunteers. Last week, our friends Ashley Heart and Amy Strife from Book-a-Cook worked with celebrity chef Tom Fornero to create a multi-course, locally sourced Thanksgiving style dinner for more than 50 people at Operation Hope’s soup kitchen.