Local Food Banks in Dire Need of Donations this Holiday Season

November 23, 2010

The holidays are traditionally a time for charity and generosity, and in this increasingly tough economy there are more Connecticut residents in need of assistance than ever. Food banks provide a helping hand to people in need, but rely heavily on donations from the community. Here are a few ways you can help:

The Connecticut Food Bank has distributed more than 200 million pounds of food to six of the eight counties in Connecticut since 1982. Donations come from the food industry, individuals, corporations, and government subsidies. When donations are received at any of their three warehouses, they are sorted and distributed to food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters across the state. Drop offs for donations can be made at their East Haven Warehouse at 150 Bradley Street, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, or you can contact the Food Bank at (203) 469-5000. (www.ctfoodbank.org)

The North Haven Food Bank, run by the Department of Community Services & Recreation, receives most of its food supplies from the Connecticut Food Bank, but also relies on donations from individuals and community organizations. The Food Bank has a freezer, and is able to accept frozen turkeys, as well and canned and boxed food year round. For more information on donating to the North Haven Food Bank, please call (203) 239-5321, ext 780. (www.town.north-haven.ct.us/AnnexDepts/CommunityServices.asp)

Master’s Manna Incorporated was started by just one woman, Cheryl Bedore, in a small basement room, is now located at 46 North Plains Industrial Road in Wallingford. In 2009, Master’s Manna served 1,636 families, and distributed 2,100 to 2,800 pounds of food per week. Recently, Master’s Manna representatives travelled to Washington, D.C. to discuss their Empty Plates Empty Pockets campaign with members the Obama administration and Congresswoman DeLauro. This program allows people to stop by Master’s Manna and write messages on blank paper plates to be delivered to Washington. Seventeen hundred plates were delivered this last trip, with the hope that more money will be spent on ending hunger across the country. Donations can be made Saturdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, or you contact Master’s Manna at (203) 678-3042. (www.mastersmanna.org)

Recently, I taped my public access show, “Forum with Len Fasano,” with special guests, Nancy Carrington, Executive Director of the CT Food Bank, Cheryl Bedore, President of Master’s Manna, Inc, and Reverend Scott Morrow, Senior Minister of the North Haven Congregational Church, to discuss the issue of hunger and need for donations. Reverend Morrow also announced the commencement of the Churches of North Haven’s Annual Holiday Food Drive. Food donations may be brought to the North Haven Congregational Church any weekday between the hours of 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Donations may also be dropped off at the North Haven Town Hall lobby. Contributions are being accepted for Christmas food boxes, and will conclude on Wednesday, December 15th. The show will be air on various local access stations, including North Haven Television. (www.nhtv.com) Please visit North Haven Television’s web site for schedule information.

Organizations such as the Connecticut Food Bank, North Haven Food Bank and Master’s Manna do a tremendous job helping those who need assistance, but they cannot do it without the help of the community.

One of the wonderful things about being a citizen of this great nation is that those of us fortunate to have the necessities of life are provided with so many opportunities to lend a helping hand to our neighbors. If you are able, please consider taking advantage of the wonderful work done by these and other volunteer organizations to help make someone’s holiday season a little brighter.

As always, I urge constituents to contact me with their questions and concerns, or to discuss issues that are important to Connecticut. You can reach me toll free at 800.842.1421 or via email at [email protected].