food insecurity

Food Distribution Broadening Across The State

Replicating East Hartford's Rentschler Field concept, new sites being added in New London, Norwich and Norwalk.

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Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare, which are in serious merger talks, are already collaborating. The two organizations will be starting three new emergency food distribution centers.

They’ll be located in New London, Norwich and Norwalk and will all be modeled after a very successful site in East Hartford.

Day after day, month after month, people have been finding relief at Rentschler Field. Foodshare estimates it has distributed more than seven million pounds of food at the East Hartford location and now it’s ready to broaden its efforts.

“The more geographic diversity we have in our drive through distributions, the more families were able to help across Connecticut,” said Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski.

The locations are:

  • New London: St. Mary Star of the Sea Church; Fridays beginning 1/8. 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Norwalk: Calf Pasture Beach; Wednesdays beginning 1/13. 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Norwich: 28 Stonington Rd. – Mondays beginning 1/25.  9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • East Hartford: Rentschler Field – Tuesdays beginning 1/12. 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

According to Foodshare, between 1,500 and 2,000 cars per day receive food at Rentschler. More than 250,000 carloads have been served since March. Still, there’s a bigger number, organizers are focused on, 545,000. That’s the number of people in Connecticut who are estimated to be food-insecure.

“Here we are in the year 2021, the richest state in the country and we still have more than half a million people who are food insecure,” said Jakubowski.

Keylalee Rivera has volunteered at Rentschler since April. She’s seen first-hand, the appreciation of those she’s helped.

“You see people crying and holding ‘thank you’ signs and children waving and saying hello,” said Rivera.

With additional locations in New London, Norwalk and Norwich, people’s needs can be better served, helping form bonds like the ones Rivera has made.

“It’s difficult because this is our community and essentially you form a family with these people,” Rivera said.

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