Write-Up & Photos  by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com 

Foodshare's 2014 Walk Against Hunger.

Foodshare 2014 Walk Against Hunger, Hartford, CT.


When I began my reporting career one of  my earliest assignments was to cover a church sponsored Thanksgiving Day dinner for the homeless and those down on their luck. That day I talked with people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, veterans working to recover from their wartime experiences, elderly folks barely making ends meet on fixed incomes, and a young, newly unemployed couple who had swallowed their pride to be there so their children would have a holiday meal.

Since that time, over a span of more than two decades I have reported on the growing needs of local and regional food pantries in communities throughout the Greater Hartford, Connecticut area. Just this past spring I covered the Foodshare 2014 Walk Against Hunger.

There are so many ways to help.

With the start of the new school year only a couple weeks away one timely way to lend a hand is through donations for Foodshare’s “Partnership Program.” The regional organization has joined with Avon-based Gifts of Love assisting their “Backpack Program” to help feed hungry Farmington Valley families in Avon, Canton, Farmington, Simsbury and outside the valley in West Hartford. It is fair to say when most people think of Connecticut’s Farmington Valley – wealth comes to mind. Yet, even here children go hungry.

Now in its sixth year, the Backpack Program sends students from low-income families home each Friday with a backpack full of “easy-to-prepare” meals for the entire family for the weekend and snacks for the students for the following week.

“When students go home on Friday afternoons, they aren’t just leaving behind their studies. Many of them leave behind free meals provided at school and return after the weekend with empty stomachs,” according to a press release from Dan Deutsch of Foodshare.

Foodshare’s “Partnership Program” was created by its Board of Directors to help achieve the goal of ending hunger in the Greater Hartford area, noted Deutsch. Five percent of all funds raised through the Foodshare Walk Against Hunger are used towards the partnership effort which expands upon Foodshare’s food pantry, community kitchen and shelter pantries, he added.

Another immediate need is for volunteers during the month of August to help harvest the Varney Farm 4 acre garden in South Windsor. According to Foodshare, Varney Farm donates 100 percent of its annual harvest towards the Movement to Stop Hunger. Volunteers are needed on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. As well as adults, accompanied by a guardian children age 5 and up are welcome to help.

Visit http://www.foodshare.org to learn more.