Food bank caters to community in need
Workers and volunteers at the Connecticut Food Bank moved at an assembly line-pace Tuesday afternoon loading food onto trucks that will serve those in need this holiday.
Church vehicle after church vehicle pulled into the driveway Tuesday picking up turkeys as well as Thanksgiving trimmings.
"There's so many people out there that are in need right now," said Pastor Leonard Green of Redeeming Faith Christian Assembly, Bridgeport. "The food that we have distributed has doubled." Redeeming Faith distributes food it receives from the Connecticut Food Bank at two different locations in Bridgeport every Saturday, Worth Street and at Newfield Park. Each bag provided to a person contains somewhere between six to nine meals.
"You can tell when people are in need because they're humble and they thank you. You can see their appreciation," said Goines.
Gladys Alcedo, communications coordinator for the Connecticut Food Bank, said the Thanksgiving-related pick-ups are part of the "Thanksgiving For All" campaign. The aim is to get as many holiday meals to those in danger of going without one. The Connecticut Food Bank, which serves six of the state's eight counties, distributed 25,000 turkeys last year.
A van from Bethel Memorial Deliverance Church, located at 1242 State St. in Bridgeport, picked up 118 turkeys Tuesday.
Assistant Pastor Marie Wiggins said the church does a food pantry every Saturday. While her church was given 118 turkeys, there will be some disappointed faces, she said, because 300 people signed up for a turkey.
"I wish I could just make a big, big dinner for everyone to come and eat," she said. Representatives from Bethel Memorial Deliverance Church usually visit the Connecticut Food Bank once a week. On occasion, there are two trips. Most of those who frequent the church's pantry are non-members, people of need in the community.
Denise Henry, Wiggins' daughter, said "we started the pantry 14 years ago." At that time, it served about 30 to 35 people. Today however, "we're up to 125 people a week," said Wiggins.
Another church stopping by the Food Bank Tuesday was Brooklawn Seventh Day Adventist.
While many were picking up, one vehicle made a drop-off. Wendy Wood, a pre-school teacher at Zion's with the help of a few Connecticut Food Bank volunteers.
"We do a lot of volunteer work. This was a whole school effort," she said. The lesson for the children was "just to help our friends that need help."
Alcedo said the Connecticut Food Bank serves 650 different programs in six of Connecticut's eight counties, from soup kitchens and shelters to child and adult day programs.
On a normal day (holidays are even more productive) "we're distributing about 35 tons of food every business day," said Alcedo. She added that the total for 2008 was about 16 million pounds of food.
As far as this Thanksgiving week, the Connecticut Food Bank gave out 93,000 pounds of food and did about the same on Tuesday.
Alcedo, a former reporter, said she likes what she's doing because "we make a difference every day."
"We can't tolerate hunger in this state so we try to do what we can so people don't go hungry," she said.