Foodshare is still seeing about 1,500 cars cruise through its twice weekly Rentschler Field food distribution lines.
And while that’s about half the number of families compared to the height of the pandemic, they want to one day shut down this operation completely.
“Obviously lines of cars and putting boxes in cars is not the optimal way of solving hunger here in the United States of America in the year 2021,” said Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Foodshare.
And, that’s where they hope the American Rescue Plan funding helps.
Through the plan, $12 billion will go towards extending the increase of SNAP and WIC benefits, among other programs, across the country.
Senator Richard Blumenthal estimates that Connecticut is expected to get more than $100 million in these food-related benefits.
“What obviously we get is the residual effect of people being able to get SNAP dollars, go to the grocery store and then have less reliance on a food bank,” said Jakubowski.
“For every meal we can provide at a food bank, SNAP can provide 12, so reinvesting in that program not only allows families be able to go to the grocery store and purchase their own food, but it also helps to stimulate the economy here in CT and across the country," he added.
The relief has only been extended through September.
Jakubowski says this funding is just a band-aid to fix a bigger, systemic hunger problem.
He and Blumenthal agree more federal help will be needed after what was a battle to pass the American Rescue Plan.
“This fight shows we still have people who resist reality, who aren’t looking at these food lines and saying that’s my neighbor, that’s my coworker, that’s my friend, that’s my dad for the first time asking for something like food,” said Blumenthal.
Foodshare hopes the lines of folks they serve remind the public that hunger impacts people on all sides of the aisle.
“It’s very helpful. Gives out the basics, so people don’t have to worry about it,” said Marian Claure of Hartford, who lost her job during the pandemic.