HEADLINES

Food Banks Affected by Hurricane Harvey are Working to Respond

Hurricane Harvey is causing unprecedented flooding in Texas. An estimated 30,000 people have sought shelter and unknown numbers are stranded by flooding and await help. The national relief effort includes Feeding America. The leaders of Connecticut’s two regional food banks shared an update from Feeding America and spoke of the need to support food banks affected by the storm.

Feeding America staged food and emergency supplies in southern U.S. locations ahead of the storm. Feeding America network food banks in the region are delivering food, water and other supplies to communities devastated by Harvey’s winds and rains. Feeding America is coordinating efforts with partners like FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the American Red Cross.

While some food banks in the region are responding to emergency needs, others are shuttered due to flooding.

“Food banks are part of the local response to emergencies, but they will need help long after the waters recede,” said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau. “The poor and the working poor are disproportionately affected by disasters. Their recovery will be measured in months and years and will mean increased demand on food banks struggling to rebuild their own operations in the wake of disaster.”

Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski said Feeding America has implemented its mutual aid plan with its network to support sharing of resources and expertise. “We stand ready to help if needed.” Beaudreau noted that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he responded as CEO of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to provide assistance in Louisiana. “I spent nearly two weeks helping food banks in Louisiana meet the needs of badly damaged communities. When the call for help comes, we respond, and we take comfort in the fact that the help given will be welcomed and returned if needed.”

Jakubowski said that the public can help Texas food banks recover from the storm and meet ongoing needs by making a financial donation. “We are encouraging Connecticut residents to help their Texas neighbors.” He said a Feeding America web page has links to the food banks affected by the storm. “When disaster strikes, what was a daily struggle for some becomes a crisis. The donations you make today can help for many days to come.”

Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare are Connecticut’s two regional food banks. Both are members of the national Feeding America network. Connecticut Food Bank serves Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, and Windham Counties. Foodshare serves Hartford and Tolland Counties. Last year, Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare distributed enough food to provide more than 31 million meals through a network of nearly 1,000 local hunger-relief programs including food pantries, shelters, and community kitchens. For more information, visit www.ctfoodbank.org and www.foodshare.org

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