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Posts tagged ‘food bank’

Stratford Teachers Answer the Call to End Hunger

On a regular Saturday, the parking lot at Victoria Soto Elementary School in Stratford’s south end sees some 150 families come through for a monthly food pickup from the Connecticut Food Bank. Lately, however, those numbers have nearly doubled. And the same teachers who have spent the first Saturday of every month this school year volunteering to distribute food have stepped it up to accommodate the growing number of families struggling to make ends meet.

Teachers and their fellow volunteers pose on a recent Saturday morning before preparing to distribute food to the growing number of families struggling to make ends meet. 

Back in September, Victoria Soto kindergarten teacher Judee McMellan spearheaded the food donation effort with the Connecticut Food Bank. Her school, which serves grades K-1, shares a campus and driveway with Stratford Academy Johnson House, for grades 2-6. Colleagues from both buildings as well as Franklin Elementary and other Stratford schools joined in the project, forming a corps of nearly 30 volunteers whose ranks also included custodial staff, administrators, family members of teachers, a board of education member, a town official, and local high school students.

“My school is in a low-income neighborhood,” says McMellan, who has spent the last 37 years of her 40-year career in Stratford. “There is tremendous need in our community as well as a huge outpouring of support.” Read more

Danbury Teachers Deliver on Their Promise to Students

The food pantry boutique at Broadview Middle School in Danbury.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many students attending Broadview Middle School participated in the “Backpackers Program” of the Connecticut Food Bank. Through this program, students at risk of hunger over the weekends were supplied food that was delivered in prepackaged bags. In addition to this program, Broadview created “The Broadview Boutique” to provide gently used clothing and shoes, recycled gym uniforms, school supplies, and toiletries to students in need.

“We often added to the food bank with donations from teachers and a few others,” says Christine Miller, a social skills counselor at Broadview. “The mother-in-law of one of our behavior analysts is an amazing couponer, and she often contributed to our supplies.”

At the end of last school year, however, the Connecticut Food Bank ended the Backpackers Program and replaced it with an additional mobile pantry on the third Thursday of each month at Rogers Park Middle School.

“We quickly realized that many of our students’ families would not be able to access the mobile pantry for lack of transportation or because of work conflicts,” Miller recalls. “We knew we needed to continue with what we called our ‘Friday food’ but had no idea how to provide for over 20 students every week.” Read more