United Way of Southeastern Connecticut is kicking off Hunger Action Month by announcing three new distribution sites for its mobile food pantry program. The mobile pantry is a critical extension of the work of the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center and focuses on bringing fresh produce, proteins, and healthy snacks directly to those most at-risk for food insecurity in New London County.
The Food Center currently provides food to nearly 100 local feeding sites which in turn help to feed more than 20,000 people every month. The mobile pantry, which launched in May 2013, has been serving more than 300 households every month at just three distribution sites in Groton, Jewett City, and Norwich. Now, three new sites will reach even more people that are at risk for hunger in New London, Baltic, and an additional site in Groton.
Distribution sites are determined based on both where the most people in need can be reached and areas of New London County that are considered "food deserts," where there is no large, retail grocery store or supermarket and/or where transportation options are limited. Residents may, therefore, be forced to walk long distances to buy food or to purchase it at a higher price at small convenience stores.
More than 31,000 people in New London County are considered food insecure. Additionally, the USDA recently released a report stating that nearly sixteen million children, or more than one in every five, are at risk for hunger in the U.S. As part of ongoing efforts to raise national awareness about childhood hunger and encourage the public to support their local food bank, Feeding America —the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization—has launched an awareness campaign and declared September to be Hunger Action Month.
Set up similar to a farmers’ market, United Way’s mobile pantry distributes fresh fruit and vegetables, proteins, and other surplus items to any family needing assistance. Families are advised to bring a form of ID and their own bags. The pantry distributes food for 1-2 hours at each location, and each household receives approximately a week’s worth of food. The mobile pantry, which is a custom refrigerated truck, was made possible through United Way’s partnership with Connecticut Food Bank and a donation from Connecticut Light & Power.
In honor of Hunger Action Month, the community is invited to get involved by volunteering at the Food Center or at a mobile pantry distribution site or organizing a food drive at your business or with your civic group. To learn more, visit www.uwsect.org/food-center.
United Way Mobile Pantry Program Distribution Sites & Times
- Sprague Community Center, 18 West Main Street,
Every second Friday of the month, 2-3 p.m.
- St. Mary's Church, 54 North Main Street,
Every third Wednesday of the month, 3:30-5 p.m.
- St. John's Christian Church, 346
Shennecossett Road, Groton
Every fourth Friday of the month, 10-11 a.m.
- Groton Human Social Services, 2 Fort Hill
Road, Groton (beginning October 9)
Every second Wednesday of the month, 10 a.m. - Noon
- Thames River Apartments, 48 Crystal Avenue,
Every fourth Wednesday of the month, 4-5 p.m.
- Norwich Free Academy, 305 Broadway Avenue
Every third Thursday of the month, 5-6 p.m.
ABOUT UNITED WAY OF SOUTHEASTERN CONNECTICUT
For more than fifty years, United Way of Southeastern Connecticut has been advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all, focusing on the building blocks for a good quality of life -- helping children to thrive, providing basic human needs and community wellness, and helping people lead independent lives. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done. Everyone is invited to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. That’s what it means to Live United.United Way of Southeastern Connecticut is a locally-based organization serving the towns of New London County. Visit United Way online at www.uwsect.org to get involved.