220 New Haven Families Fed at Neighborhood Pop-Up Pantry
Food Pantry clients receive free groceries at a Neighborhood Pop-up Pantry
New Haven, CT (May 22, 2020) – Around 220 families were served at a Neighborhood Pop-up Pantry on Friday. The drive-thru and walk-up food distribution event at the Truman School in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven was made possible through a partnership between United Way of Greater New Haven (UWGNH) and key CFAN partners, including the City of New Haven, FISH, Vertical Church, CARE, and the CT Food Bank. This event focused on partnering with and increasing the capacity of the N.I.C.E. pantry in the Hill in order to safely serve more community members, many reporting this as their first time at a food pantry or drive.
Before the crisis, 46% of households in Greater New Haven were struggling to make ends meet. COVID-19 has increased this population as people lose jobs, have hours reduced or are unable to work due to illness. In times like these, families often go without food as they juggle competing financial pressures. With no clear end in sight, local food pantries are seeing increased numbers week after week. “We have been receiving a lot more phone calls of people reaching out to get home delivery,” shared Jill Meyerhoff, Interim Executive Director of Food in Service to the Homebound (FISH). “We have either been taking them on or directing them to the best place to get food depending on their particular needs.”
Based on data from the City of New Haven and input from Jamilah Rasheed, Director of N.I.C.E., the Hill neighborhood was identified as having an increased need for food. “We have found that people in our neighborhood are diverse culturally, and we have been able to meet many of those needs through the pantry,” said Jamilah. “A walk up is good because it covers more of the community.”
United Way provided financial support for additional food, leveraged the strengths of multiple partners, and activated volunteers to pack and distribute the food. “No one in our community should go hungry, and yet we hear every day about the need for more food as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” stated Jennifer Heath, President and CEO of UWGNH. “Today’s distribution is an example of how United Way builds trusted relationships, activates local knowledge, and coordinates collaborative efforts to meet priority needs in the community.