Cars lined up hours early for the second day of Foodshare's drive-thru food distribution for the Greater Hartford community amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A line of cars began waiting for food at Rentschler Field in East Hartford around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Sal Cianzi of Wethersfield made sure to get to Rentschler Field by 6 a.m. Tuesday morning after he witnessed the long lines formed on Monday.
"I got here at 8:15 yesterday and it was crazy packed so we went back home and came back at 11 a.m. and it was still crazy packed and they wouldn’t let us in," Cianzi said.
“Some people think this is Connecticut, we’re the richest state in the country, we don’t have a problem with food insecurity, but it’s times like these that show we’re fragile just like everybody else. That’s why Foodshare is here,” said Foodshare’s CEO and President Jason Jakubowski.
Foodshare said Monday's distribution was like nothing they've done before. They gave away about 20,000 pounds of groceries to about 931 families on Monday and believe they'll exceed serving more than 1,000 cars on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the drive-thru food distribution site opened for its second day. It opened at 8:30 a.m. and will close at 11 a.m. Food will be given out until 12 p.m. It takes about an hour to get from the gate to the tent for food.
Foodshare anticipates it will continue to have long lines.
“They’re people who just four weeks ago were gainfully employed and now through no fault of their own, have found themselves unemployed or not knowing where their next meal is coming from,” said Jakubowski.
This drive-thru is a supplement to the 250 pantries and 60 or so mobile sites Foodshare always has running in Hartford and Tolland counties.
“What we’ve found at these drive-thru distributions like we’re doing today, a lot of these folks are first timers. They are people who have never had to use our services before,” said Jakubowski.
Foodshare said they have been seeing a 30-percent increase in the amount of food they're distributing since the coronavirus crisis hit the state.
"We typically spend about $300,000 a year on food. By comparison in the last four weeks, we've already spent $225,000," Jakuvowski added.
The drive-thru food distribution runs Monday, April 20, through Friday, April 24 and is free to residents in Hartford and Tolland counties.