CT Food Bank: the public need is increasing

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WALLINGFORD — Connecticut’s economy may be improving, but the fight for food has increased once again.

The Connecticut Food Bank hands out 23 million pounds of food to some 700 organizations in six counties every year.

Thanksgiving week is, of course, the organization’s busiest of the year.

Among the scores of volunteers loading food pantry trucks Monday was a group from the United States Coast Guard.

“As military members, often, it’s hard to feel like you’re part of a community,” said Coast Guard volunteer coordinator Alice Slate.

The Coast Guard teams will be busy lifting and loading through Tuesday at the Connecticut Food Bank’s brand-new 84,000 square-foot Wallingford facility, which is double size of its previous spaces in East Haven and Waterbury.

“This (facility) gives you a better chance to see where the need is,” said Slate. “When you see there’s this many stocked shelves, that’s an amazing need.”

“Of the people that we serve, about 45 percent are above the poverty line,” said Paul Shipman of the Connecticut Food Bank.

Among the organizations picking up food today was one from Middletown, which services over 100 families per month.

“The people line up all the way down the walkway, sometimes to the down to the driveway,” said Michele White of the Zion First Baptist Church.

Packing her church’s truck, a long time Connecticut Food Bank volunteer.

“I was here all last week and I’ll be here all day till 5 o’clock today,” said Tom Voytek of Wallingford.

“When you see their faces smile and light up and you know that they’re in need and you’re being of a service to them, it’s a wonderful feeling,” added White.

Of course, cash is king, even with the Connecticut Food Bank. They say for every dollar donated, they can provide two meals to some hungry folks.