AARP Connecticut partners with local organizations like End Hunger CT!, The Connecticut Foodbank, Foodshare and the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County to help increase enrollment in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program among older adults, host food drives, participate in Hunger walks, collect donations and volunteer at local food pantries.
Most recently, AARP members of the Stamford Chapter collected over 3000 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County to help restock depleted pantry shelves and assist victims in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The Food Bank was one of six local organizations in Connecticut that received $92,000 in grants from the AARP Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, set up to assist victims and communities impacted by the storm. AARP volunteers also helped package and hand out over 300 Thanksgiving dinners at the Catholic Charities’ St. Stephen’s Food Pantry at the Thomas Merton Community Center in Bridgeport.
During a Day of Service on September 11, 2012, AARP staff and volunteers helped prepare and serve meals, sort and stock food items and other duties at local food pantries, including St. Stephen’s, The Community Dining Room in Branford, The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County in Stamford and the food pantry at the greater-Waterbury Interfaith Ministries in Waterbury.
Volunteerism is a key priority of AARP, and AARP Connecticut wants to help by providing volunteer opportunities for our members that are meaningful and important to the community.
Whether you have five minutes, five hours or five days, there are many ways that you can help make a difference in the fight against hunger right here in Connecticut. Here are just a few:
The Connecticut Food Bank
The Connecticut Food Bank distributes food and other resources to approximately 600 local emergency food assistance programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties. The Connecticut Food Bank seeks volunteers throughout the year to help sort and stock food at their warehouses in Fairfield, East Haven and Waterbury and participate in the organization’s annual Walk Against Hunger in May. In addition, assistance is needed at harvest time to collect produce donated from area farms. To learn more about how to donate or volunteer with the Connecticut Food Bank, please visit www.ctfoodbank.org.
Foodshare is the heart of greater Hartford’s fight against hunger, bringing together individuals and organizations to create effective solutions to end hunger in all 42 towns of Hartford and Tolland counties. Serving as our region’s food bank, Foodshare distributes 16 tons of food each day to a network of 300 local partners that feed our hungry neighbors. This vital safety net helps more than 128,000 people in our region who are at risk including seniors, the working poor, and 50,000 children. But ending hunger requires more than just distribution of food. Reducing the number of people in need by increasing their self-sufficiency helps to address the chronic underlying reasons why people are hungry. And engaging members of the greater community to increase understanding of these real causes and solutions to hunger is crucial. To find out more about Foodshare and how you can donate or volunteer, please visit www.foodshare.org or call 860-286-9999.
End Hunger Connecticut! is a statewide anti-hunger and food security organization. By focusing on advocacy, outreach, education and research, EHC! serves as a comprehensive anti-hunger resource for policymakers, community organizations, and low-income families. Their goal is to improve the levels of food security and nutrition among Connecticut families while creating and supporting policies that move families toward self-sufficiency. In recent years, AARP Connecticut and the AARP Foundation have joined forces with End Hunger CT! to help increase enrollment in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP) through enhanced public outreach. AARP also has helped recruit volunteers to staff a statewide SNAP hotline that residents can call toll-free to find out if they are eligible for SNAP benefits. To find out about volunteer opportunities with EndHungerCT!, please visit www.endhungerct.org or call 860-560-2100
The Community Dining Room of Branford
For more than 25 years, the Community Dining Room in Branford has provided food, support and companionship to Connecticut shoreline communities. The CDR serves over 4000 meals a month, including lunch every day of the year from 12pm-1pm as well as a Family Dinner every Tuesday at 5:30pm and breakfast every Saturday from 9am-10am. Volunteers are needed for the annual walk against hunger, being held this year on April 20th, to benefit the Community Dining Room. To learn more about how to donate or volunteer with the Community Dining Room, please visit www.communitydiningroom.org or call 203-488-0447.
Catholic Charities of Fairfield County/St. Stephen’s Food Pantry
The St. Stephen’s Food Pantry, located in the Thomas Merton Community Center, 43 Madison Avenue in Bridgeport provides groceries to needy families and individuals living in the 06604, 06605, and 06606 zip codes in Bridgeport. They currently serve about 560 local families (up from 270 two years ago) and about 17,500 meals a month, the highest numbers ever. The program is committed to helping families make healthy food choices and focuses on providing fresh produce, meats, and dairy. The participation of local businesses, including grocery stores and restaurants, is critical to helping the Food Pantry fulfill its mission to serve mostly whole, fresh foods. To learn more about how to volunteer or donate to St. Stephens Food Pantry/Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, please visit www.ccfairfield.org or call 203-367-9036.
The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County
The Food Bank provides food to over 80 non-profit agencies and programs that serve low income people in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford and Wilton, through bags of groceries and congregate meals. These include soup kitchens, food pantries, child care programs, homeless shelters, senior centers, domestic violence safe houses, and rehabilitation programs. About a year ago The Food Bank purchased the building it had rented and is planning a major renovation to add 1600 square feet of warehouse space. The renovation will greatly increase the organization’s storage capacity and enable The Food Bank to serve an even greater number of people in the region. To learn more about how to donate or volunteer with The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, please visit or call 203-358-8898. The Food Bank is located at 461 Glenbrook Road in Stamford.