For the last eight months, Foodshare has provided free meals to hundreds of thousands of hungry families at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
“I don’t qualify for, because of my Social Security, for any other assistance. So for me, this helps to defray the cost of eating,” said Becky Grose, a woman in line from East Hartford.
“If it wasn’t for Foodshare, I don’t know what I would do,” said Elaine Cook, a woman in line from East Hartford.
It wouldn’t be possible without donations from the community and Shan Riggs, of Glastonbury, is helping to raise some.
Riggs volunteered for Foodshare and saw the tremendous need. That’s when he decided to run across America and raise money for the organization. He started on Sept. 1 in San Francisco and ran approximately 40 miles a day through all kinds of weather and terrain. He documented his journey along the way with his crew chief Callie.
He said they get up before dawn and get going at first light, run 10 to 12 miles, stop for breakfast in the van, then go 10 to 12 miles and stop for lunch.
"[We] repeat that until we get where we’re going,” said Riggs. “I almost stepped on a rattle snack in California. That would have been a short end of the trip. I also got food poisoning in Indiana. So those were challenging.”
On Giving Tuesday, a day meant to inspire giving and generosity, Riggs started the last leg of his 3,210-mile journey. He ran from Bloomfield to the Connecticut shoreline.
“It’s something I’ve been thinking about from the beginning, but once you actually get here it doesn’t feel real,” said Riggs.
“It’s an incredible feat in and of itself. The fact that he was able to raise more than $40,000 for Foodshare just makes it even more special for us, especially at this time of year, especially in these circumstances that we have in the world today,” said Jason Jakubowski, the president and CEO of Foodshare.
That $40,000 donation will buy 100,000 meals for people in Connecticut, according to Jakubowski. It is a donation that comes at a time when the COVID pandemic has presented more of a need than ever before.
“Shan doing this at any point in time is really special. Him doing it now just means the world to us,” said Jakubowski.