food insecurity

St. Vincent de Paul Help Distribute USDA Food Boxes

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Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic and people across the state are still trying to find ways to feed their families. Different organizations are stepping up to offer assistance including St. Vincent de Paul.

It was a busy morning for volunteers working to get food into cars right outside the Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown.

The community effort is being done thanks largely to the United States Department of Agriculture. The agency identifies areas where food insecurity is high. The group then purchases items from farmers to give out to those suffering.

"There is a concentration on communities like ours that have been hit hard by high unemployment," said Peter Keast, who works with St. Vincent de Paul. "We don't want anybody to come here and feel embarrassed when they get food because that's what we're here for."

Cars were able to drive into the Amazing Grace Food Pantry parking lot to pick up their boxes. Volunteers with masks dropped the boxes into each vehicle.

The non-profit is one of several partners working to ensure the USDA food boxes are given to families who need a little help.

Local, state and federal representatives are also involved. The three groups work in collaboration to find community partners who have the resources to carry out a mission like the one at Amazing Grace Food Pantry.

"This is part of the effort to make sure that people can feed themselves and feed their families," said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

"The demand is unfortunately out there, and out there in abundance, so we try to play our part in ensuring that there is enough supply and distribution for the community," said Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim.

A handful of volunteers showed up to help with the operation including Ebony Beall who has volunteered at the center since college.

Some of the items inside the food boxes. Fruits, vegetables, milk and meat are a few products purchased from farmers.

"This is a place that's fitting for me, I can help people and it's something that' I've been doing all my life," said Beall.

Jenny Lopez showed up the food distribution to collect food for her children and grandchildren.

"You know, it's hard because they can eat up a storm all week, breakfast, lunch, and dinner," said Lopez. "Everybody is struggling, you know, trying to take care of themselves."

Lindsey Brooksbank tells NBC Connecticut she lives on a fixed income so anytime there's an opportunity to receive a little help, she makes time to be at the location.

"I don't have enough money for food and I'm trying to get food stamps," said Brooksbank. "I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have every day."

The USDA supplies more than 1323 food boxes for the community and if they weren't able to give the boxes out to the community, they either refrigerate the boxes or donate them to another community organization.

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