Wallingford, CT – Connecticut Food Bank and Cornerstone Christian Center will hold a drive-through food distribution at Cornerstone Christian Center, 349 Wheelers Farms Road in Milford on Thursday, August 20, from 5:30PM to 7:30PM. This event will provide enough food for approximately 7,500 meals. The distribution will be a contactless, drive-through event, to follow social distancing guidelines for the safety of visitors seeking food and volunteers distributing the food.
Connecticut Food Bank Chief Operating Officer Daniel Gomez said the distribution is a collaboration to address rising food insecurity in New Haven County. “Our partners at Feeding America project that food insecurity in New Haven County will rise this year by nearly 40%. Food insecurity for children in New Haven county will rise by 50%. We are committed to working with partners in the community to help meeting rising demand for food.”
The food distributed by Connecticut Food Bank at mobile sites is a supplement to the tens of millions of pounds each year that its network of community-based pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters provide to people in need. Connecticut Food Bank operates or supplies a combined number of more than 500 food access points across its six-county service area. “Our member agencies are the backbone of hunger relief in our area. We provide these mobile distributions to alleviate some of the pressure on them because of the rising demand caused by this pandemic.” Mr. Gomez said that additional food access points “demonstrate our commitment to do whatever we can to support the community and our agencies.”
Connecticut Food Bank continues to add mobile distributions as need increases and sites are brought online. “We expect to average 50 mobile distributions each month by the end of this year, up from 30 in June.” Mr. Gomez added that Connecticut Food Bank recently launched the Dairy Express delivery program, which provides fresh milk daily to a number of sites across in its six-county service area. “We continue to look for ways to keep food moving out to our communities.”
Reverend Todd Foster of Cornerstone Christian Center said that they had secured additional food for the distribution and had 40 volunteers ready to help distribute the food.
Mr. Gomez said Connecticut Food Bank has had to adjust its practices as the pandemic “turned the food bank model upside down.” Before the pandemic, two-thirds of the food distributed by Connecticut Food Bank came from food industry donations. The pandemic disrupted the food supply. Product donations plunged by as much as 60% and have not rebounded. Connecticut Food Bank is purchasing food to fill the gap. Mr. Gomez said the Food Bank has purchased more food in the past four months than it had in the prior six years. “We are grateful to financial donors that came forward to support this growing need; we hope they will continue to help in the challenging months ahead.”
Mr. Gomez said the increased reliance on purchased food is a financial challenge, but it is “the only way we can assure a stable food supply and distribution to Connecticut Food Bank member agencies. We are now able to offer increased amounts of food to our network of member agencies, which continue to see high demand in communities throughout the six counties we serve.”