This summer has been a challenging season. First, we were faced with a food shortage that prompted us to send out a public plea for help, a plea that we rarely send out. Second, we received news from a Feeding America report that more children in our state know the cruel reality of hunger. And third, we continue to hear about men, women and children in our communities struggling to keep food on their tables.
But in the midst of those challenges, we find hope in the grace and generosity of the people we serve and the supporters who share our conviction that food is a basic human right and hunger in our communities is unacceptable.
In June, we sent out the plea for help after we saw our food supply dwindle as food donations dropped and the demand for food assistance continued to be high. Last summer, our food supply was buoyed by a
one-time $593,000 federal allocation to help address the growing need after the recession pushed thousands of Connecticut residents into financial insecurity. That one-time allocation for additional food is no longer available, yet many people who were hurting from the recession last year are still hurting today.
After we sent out the plea for help, we saw a great outpouring of support, including People’s United Community Foundation, which gave a $20,000 gift for our summer distribution. As a result, we purchased food to help supplement the supply we provide to the 650 food-assistance programs we serve.
Then came the news we long suspected: More children in our state are struggling with hunger, specifically one child in six, as compared to one child in eight last year. Sometimes, news of this kind makes us think our fight against hunger is a never-ending battle.
But we are reminded of the successes, such as the family we wrote about last year. Paul had lost his job in the mortgage industry. After months of being unemployed and depleting his 401(k) plan to pay for his family’s expenses, Paul eventually ran out of options. He went to TEEG’s food pantry in North Grosvenordale to seek help for his family, including three children between 8 and 17 years old. He knew about TEEG from helping his church pack holiday baskets for the food pantry.
We have now heard that Paul found a job. Instead of pushing forward and not looking back, he and his family called TEEG this past holiday season to help another family struggling through a difficult time. Paul’s family “adopted” a family and gave gifts to that family’s children so that they did not have to go without during the holidays.
It is through the grace and generosity of people like Paul—and you—that we find inspiration and resolve to continue our work of alleviating hunger one person at a time, one family at a time and one neighborhood at a time.
Posted by Nancy Carrington, Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut Food Bank