In the Connecticut Food Bank six-county service area, one in nine of our neighbors struggle with hunger and may not know where they’ll find their next meal. One in seven children go to bed hungry. Hunger affects people in every community, from Bridgewater to Bridgeport, from Newtown to New Haven, and from Windham to Wilton. In Fairfield County, more than 9% of the population are not always sure they will have enough food to provide adequate nutrition; in New Haven County, that number climbs to more than 12% of the population.
That is why, this September, the Connecticut Food Bank joins Feeding America food banks across the country to take part in Hunger Action Month and inspire people to take action and raise awareness of the fact that 40 million Americans, including 12.5 million children and 5.5 million seniors, are food insecure.
This year’s campaign seeks 40,000 actions – a volunteer shift, a social media post, or a donation – from the public that will help end hunger one helping at a time.
Connecticut Food Bank CEO Valarie Shultz-Wilson said the goal is to bring attention to hunger and food insecurity. “We’re asking people to volunteer to give an hour, to give a morning,” Shultz-Wilson said. “We just would like to encourage people to volunteer or donate to the Connecticut Food Bank.” Shultz-Wilson said the Connecticut Food Bank distributes food to hundreds of community-based programs throughout its service area, which those programs then distribute to people in need. “We help local programs source the food they need so they can spend more energy on serving the people in communities they know so well,” she said.
In addition to distributing food to locally based agencies, the Connecticut Food Bank operates specialized programs including Mobile Pantries that help to fill gaps in communities where transportation or other factors affect access to food. “Between our network of partners and our own programs, we offer 700 access points for food,” Shultz-Wilson said, noting that, last year, more than 144,000 people each month visited a Connecticut Food Bank partner or program seeking food.
“Hunger Action Month is a time for us to take action and help our neighbors and friends struggling to put food on the table,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “Every state and every county in this country have people facing hunger. Our network of food banks and partner food pantries and meal programs are positioned to serve all of them. You can help at the local level by volunteering, engaging, advocating, and donating, and together we can end hunger one helping at a time.”
September marks the twelfth year the Feeding America network has organized this annual call to action. To learn more about the Connecticut Food Bank and other ways you can get involved for Hunger Action Month in our community, visit www.ctfoodbank.org/hungeraction. Learn more about Hunger Action Month across the nation at HungerActionMonth.org. You can also join the conversation by posting photos or stories to social media with #HungerActionMonth, @CTFoodBank, and @FeedingAmerica.