Helping Those in Need

August 10, 2010

During the last week of July, I had the opportunity to participate in a food drive with Governor Rell at the Fire Station on Phoenix Ave. The food drive was really a kick off to a July 31st event, the statewide “Day of Caring & Compassion”. On that day, several fire stations around Connecticut served as collection centers for donations of non-perishable food to help replenish the state’s two main food pantries- Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank.

I have not yet heard how much food was collected that day, but I have no doubt that the great folks in Enfield and our state came out to do what they could to feed those in need.

Just last week, one of the headlines in a major Connecticut paper stated that our food pantries were running out of food. While there have been some indicators that our economy is recovering, the truth is, we still have far too many people out of work and in need of food and housing.

Usually, food banks around our state kick off food drives over the holidays, when people are feeling especially generous. But this year is not a typical year and it is important now more than ever that we lend a helping hand to those around us. Especially during these summer months, families are struggling to put food on the table. Many children receive free breakfast and lunch at school, and when they are home for the summer, their parents suddenly have to provide for close to ten extra meals a week, per child.

One statistic from the Connecticut Food Bank website that stuck out to me was that 55% of those served by food banks are from small towns or suburban areas. I know many people tend to think of poverty and hunger is a city problem, but the truth is many people are suffering as unemployment remains at its highest level in decades.

Here in Enfield, the Food Shelf and Loaves and Fishes do what they can to feed the hungry. As are all soup kitchens and food pantries, they are only able to serve those in need because of the generosity of others. Many people volunteer not only food, but also time. If you are interested in donating to either of these organizations, please contact my office and we will be happy to provide you the information you need. Right now, Enfield Loaves and Fishes is looking for garden vegetables. If you are experiencing an especially good harvest in your garden this year, as many folks are, I hope you will consider donating some extras to those in need.