A DOZEN UNITED WAY HELPERS FEED 160 LOCAL FAMILIES

United Way is working with 70 partners to create community solutions around the goal of ending hunger in our region. Last year United Way started this new work with the Connecticut Food Bank and mobilized volunteers to staff mobile pantry sites across New Haven.

Under the harsh summer afternoon sun, the line for free groceries started early. Some of the first people in line at John Martinez School in Fair Haven said they waited four hours so they could beat the crowd. Mothers with children, families, and even grandparents made up the line. These were people from all backgrounds coming together around a common need: food.

Connecticut is the wealthiest state in the country, but 1 in 6 children go hungry, and 1 in 8 adults go hungry.

Despite the heat, spirits were high, and the mobile food truck arrived to find a crowd of 160 people, and about a dozen United Way volunteers ready to distribute the food.

Christina Faustino and her daughter Isabel joined the other volunteers for a quick training and then distributed food from the Connecticut Food Bank truck. Isabel walked around to the front of the tables to carefully place peaches in the bags of shoppers so the fruit didn’t get bruised.

“We need another box of peaches, please,” said Isabel.

This is just one of a handful of mobile pantry sites across New Haven and Hamden supported by United Way volunteers this summer. At some of the sites, United Way is also pairing the food with free books in English and Spanish for the children.

On the truck there were carrots, potatoes, yogurt, juice, corn on the cob, oranges, tomatoes, and more available for shoppers. United Way volunteers lightened the mood with smiles and helping hands when the grocery bags got too heavy.

United Way is working with 70 partners to create community solutions around the goal of ending hunger in our region. Last year United Way started this new work with the Connecticut Food Bank and mobilized volunteers to staff mobile pantry sites across New Haven. United Way volunteers helped serve 1,930 families in this capacity last year. Connecticut Food Bank provides the food and the truck, and United Way recruits and manages the volunteers on site.

The line this evening in Fair Haven lasted for about two hours, and so did the oppressive heat. Connecticut Food Bank staff had water bottles on hand for anyone who needed to cool off, and most people found shade where they could. This collaborative effort to feed hungry families is just another reminder that there are people and organizations in our community committed to helping no matter the obstacles.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a United Way volunteer you can visit uwgnh.org/volunteer.

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