Did you know that in Connecticut 1 in 6 children go hungry? We believe everyone in our region should have access to nutritious, affordable food regardless of income, race, ethnicity, age, gender, or zip code.
United Way is on a mission to end hunger. For decades, we have been working to feed hungry families by managing the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) locally, which feeds thousands of people each year. Additionally, over the past ten years we have invested $3.6 million into the emergency food system to ensure that those most vulnerable in our communities do not go hungry.
Through this work and our partnerships we understand that the emergency food system alone cannot address the complexity of hunger. In order to move the needle and wipe out hunger for good, we are reimagining a new system that not only addresses immediate need, but creates longer lasting solutions.
We know that the new faces of hunger—particularly children and families—require customized and coordinated solutions informed by those affected and built on communities’ strengths and needs. By working in partnership with non-profit organizations, food service providers, concerned citizens, and local town and school representatives we are finding new ways to fight hunger community by community. This work has already started in Hamden and our lessons will be brought to other towns across our region.
So far, we have:
- Created the Hamden Food Security Task Force, a diverse stakeholder group that meets monthly to discuss issues, obstacles, and find solutions to end hunger and food insecurity in Hamden.
- Developed a community awareness campaign that includes a comprehensive hunger report, community summit, and community conversations to galvanize support and lift the voices of those most affected by hunger.
- Established a monthly mobile food pantry and four new summer meal sites in partnership with the Connecticut Food Bank and Hamden Public Schools.
- Surveyed over 200 teachers and parents in Hamden Public Schools as part of an ongoing evaluation effort to monitor our progress.
- Organized and supported Photovoice workshops with the New Haven Chapter of Witnesses to Hunger, a grass-roots advocacy organization working to address food insecurity, to support members in using photography to tell their stories of food insecurity, and support the group in creating a social media platform.
- Established a community garden site in Hamden, in partnership with Town of Hamden and Keefe Community Center, to allow families and individuals without land of their own the opportunity to produce quality, fresh produce.
- This year we will serve over 24,000 residents of Greater New Haven through our Hunger work.