New Haven community organizations along with the city partnered together to attack one of the city's biggest issues, food insecurity.
Volunteers began to assemble boxes filled with fresh vegetables, chicken, and other food items early on Tuesday.
Teresa Thomas lives on a fixed income and for the last couple of months she has struggled to pay her bills while helping her daughter and grandkids.
"Sometimes we don't have food at all," said Thomas. "Right now, it's hard for me and my daughter."
Thomas has counted on community organizations like the Kingdom International Economic Development Corporation, which was in charge of the food distribution.
"I appreciate programs like this," said Thomas. "It's rough right now for a lot of families."
Metashar Dillon is the founder and executive director of KIEDC and mentions that the goal is to help families who are victims of food insecurity.
"There is a need here and there is a need all over the world," said Dillon. "We want to provide families with nutritious food so that our community can be healthy and we won't fall victim to any severe health conditions."
According to DataHaven, an organization that collects and analyzes data across Connecticut, more than 22% of New Haven residents are food insecure and more than 40% struggle to afford basic necessities, which means food initiatives are critical in helping families who are without.
Access to those healthy foods makes a huge difference for those like the Thomas family.
"I encourage everyone who may be struggling to take advantage of these initiatives," said Thomas. "Right now, this initiative and food banks are helping my family."
New Haven's Mayor Justin Elicker says poverty and access to food are a key priority for the city.
"I think this is a time of crisis but we need to turn this into a time of opportunity," said Elicker. "COVID-19 has presented the inequities facing many black and brown communities."
Other elected officials agree with Elicker.
"With this kind of food, this kind of effort, we're going to make sure that our families don't go without," said Jeanette Morrison, alderwoman with the city of New Haven.
The food distribution also consisted of offering free COVID-19 testing for families.