Al Roker, a weather forecaster on The Today Show, visited Foodshare's food drive at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on Tuesday to highlight food insecurity. It was part of The Today Show's Season of Giving series.
Foodshare has been keeping their drive-thru food pantry at Rentschler Field up and running since the pandemic started. They hand out about meals to about 2,000 cars every day.
Right now, Foodshare is in need of volunteers and monetary donations. They can buy food at a discounted rate so your dollars go farther when you donate cash versus cans.
Multiple times a week, the parking lot at Rentschler Field comes alive with truckloads of food being delivered and volunteers handing food out to families in need.
Families have been able to drive up in their car and have boxes of food placed inside with no questions asked.
Foodshare initially began it as an emergency food drive and kept it going for the last eight months to meet the demand.
Connecticut Feeding America estimates that there has been about a 28 percent increase in food insecurity since the beginning of the pandemic. There are about 545,000 people in the state who are food insecure, which is one in every four children.
The president of Foodshare said they are not responding to the virus itself, but rather the economic impact of the virus so although a vaccine would be great, it's not going to solve the problem of food insecurity.
“We've been saying from the beginning that even, even if the virus itself was solved tomorrow, it does not mean that the impact on the economy and the impact on families is going to evaporate overnight," Foodshare President and Chief Executive Officer Jason Jakubowski said.
"We're still looking at a 12 to 18 month lag on the economy for local families here and that's what's going to impact the type of work that Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank do every day,” he added.
According to Feeding America, nearly 50 million Americans will face food insecurity this year.
“You hear a lot of the same thing over and over again, and that's that 'you know, hey I was gainfully employed. I had a five or six figure a year job and then due to no fault of my own, I haven't been able to work and now I found myself in a position where I need to figure out, how do I pay for food for my family? Or do I pay for my mortgage or do I pay for my vehicle or pay my student loans,” Jakubowski said.
As part of their Season of Giving series, The Today Show is teaming up with Feeding America to highlight food insecurity across the country. The Today Show is reporting live from Chicago, Houston and at Rentschler Field with Al Roker.