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Feeding Our NeighborsWe hear every day about the need for more food as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why we have focused on increasing access to food as one of the priorities of our response.
June 2, 2020 - 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. That’s why we have focused on increasing access to food as one of the priorities of our response. One of the ways that we have done this is by looking at gaps in service and working with a broad range of partners to reach those in need. The story below highlights one such effort from last week. This work was only possible because of our trusted relationships, local knowledge, and ability to coordinate collaborative efforts. I hope you’ll find it inspiring to see how your partnership with United Way helped get food where it’s needed most, but there is more to be done. With your continued support, we can help our most vulnerable neighbors through the crisis.
NEIGHBORHOOD POP-UP PANTRY: 220 FAMILIES SERVED!
Before the crisis, 46% of households in Greater New Haven were struggling to make ends meet. COVID-19 has increased this number 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.
In response to this increasing need, UWGNH worked with key community partners to create a Neighborhood Pop-Up Pantry in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven. The event focused on partnering with 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. This drive-thru and walk-up food distribution event stocked 220 pantries for families in need.
RESOURCE HIGHLIGHT: ONLINE ACCESS TO FOOD WITH SNAP
Food pantries are an important way to get food to people who need it, but it will take policy changes to truly tackle long-term food insecurity. A recent change in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits is an example of this, and a change we fully support.
Beginning June 2, individuals and families in Connecticut will be able to use SNAP benefits to purchase eligible food items online for delivery or curbside pick-up. This change provides more families with the opportunity to use the online services that many of us have come to rely on in these challenging times.
Participating food retailers include Amazon (Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh), 12 Walmart stores, and 22 ShopRite stores.
You might recognize Sierra’s story. We’ve shared it before as an inspiring example of how United Way helps people pursue their dreams. Sierra was ready to give up on her professional goals to take care of the immediate needs of her girls. Thanks to United Way’s Early Head Start program and caring supporters like you, she didn’t have to choose. She could return to school and her children could be in a safe learning environment. We are so proud to share that last weekend, Sierra graduated from SCSU with a BA in General Studies! She now plans to work as a substitute teacher while pursuing certification to become a Secondary English instructor.
“One lesson that I learned during the process of earning my degree was patience,” Sierra remarked. “I am also a mother and a worker. Both these roles added pressure to my life because they often conflicted with my responsibilities as a student. Reminding myself to be patient helped me trust the process and embrace life’s challenges.”
We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential. You can support the quality education that provides that opportunity by donating to United Way today.
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