CTBites invites you to join your fellow CTBites readers and contributors to fight hunger in Connecticut and walk with us at the Connecticut Food Bank’s Walk Against Hunger on Sunday, April 18th. For most of us, the biggest decision we face when we’re hungry or need groceries is where to shop. But for many of the 390,000 people in Connecticut who do not have enough food to eat, their decisions involve whether to buy groceries or pay the rent or the utility bills. For others, soup kitchens and shelters provide the only meals they will eat.
Each spring, the Connecticut Food Bank sponsors a Walk Against Hunger to raise money and consciousness about hunger in our state. This year the Food Bank has added a walk in Fairfield County: a 2 mile loop through Beardsley Park in Bridgeport, and CTBites will be there! We’ve started a team to walk together and help the Food Bank reach its fundraising goal. According to Nancy Carrington, Connecticut Food Bank CEO, they’ve added the walk “to accommodate the many inquiries CFB receives from supporters in Fairfield County who want to know what more they can do.” The walk helps “raise consciousness about hunger, give people an opportunity to do something about it and get some exercise. Beardsley Park was chosen because it’s a nice location and has good parking.” In 2009, over 900 people raised more than $180,000 between two walks in New Haven and Waterbury. This year, Nancy hopes the Beardsley Park Walk will attract an additional 500 people.
The Connecticut Food Bank is the largest centralized source of donated, emergency food in Connecticut. In 2009, the soup kitchens and food pantries served by CFB reported a 30% increase in demand for their services. A recent USDA report found that Connecticut had one of the largest increases in food-insecure households in the country. Last year, The Food Bank distributed 18.7 million pounds of food. On average, they distribute 424 grocery carts worth of food (more than 35 tons) every business day to food-assistance programs. That’s more than 111,000 grocery carts of food per year – so many carts that if you lined them up, they would reach from CFB’s East Haven warehouse to Westport and back. Early this year, The Food Bank reached a milestone in its mission to end hunger in our state: They delivered their 200 millionth pound of food since they began distributing food in 1982.
The Walk Against Hunger raises money to cover transportation costs related to moving donated food across the state, as well as purchasing and transporting fresh produce such as potatoes, carrots and celery to warehouses and pantries. Over 100 agencies in Fairfield County alone will benefit from the money raised in the Walk, including Agape Food Pantry in Stratford, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Bridgeport Salvation Army, Operation Hope in Fairfield and St. Vincent DePaul Society in Norwalk. Every $5 raised enables The Food Bank to provide more than 17 meals to people in need, one- third of who are children. Ninety-two percent of CFB’s expenses go directly toward program services at food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and child and adult day programs.
The Walk Against Hunger is our opportunity to do more. We can help by signing up to walk on April 18th. You can access the registration page through the CFB website by clicking on Join a Team, and selecting CTbites. Come alone or bring the family - the 2 mile loop is a manageable distance, as well as an empowering activity for kids. If long-range planning doesn’t work for you, you can also register between 1:00 and 2:00 pm the day of the event. The walk starts at 2:00 and will conclude by 3:30. The $10 per person registration fee will buy 34 meals for people in need and secure each participant a 2010 Walk Against Hunger t-shirt.
The Connecticut Food Bank 2010 Walk Against Hunger, Sunday, April 18th, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, Beardsley Park, Bridgeport. www.ctfoodbank.org.