Imagine a day when you weren’t sure if you or your family would have food on the table. Now imagine that day was every day. This is the reality for about one in seven Connecticut residents, and that number appears to be on the rise. The face of hunger is diverse, effecting children, single parents, seniors, working families, and so many more. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) estimated that 15% of Connecticut residents did not have enough money in the first half of 2012 to purchase the food that they needed. Why didn’t they have enough money for food? In a study done prior to the recent recession, 42% of Connecticut residents had to choose between food and utilities, 34% had to choose between food and rent, and 30% had to choose between food and medical care (CT Food Bank). What would you do if you had to choose between putting food on the table for your kids and risk being evicted because you couldn’t pay your rent? Would you keep your home for a little while longer but go hungry? This is a decision far too many people in Connecticut have to make on a daily basis. Hunger is happening right here in New London County, too. Approximately 12% of New London County residents are food insecure (Feeding America), and 54% of these people don’t qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Some of us won’t face these difficult choices in our lives, but chances are we know or will meet someone who does. So what can we do? The first thing to do is to remove any stereotypes or stigmas we associate with hunger, as these only make the situation worse and perpetuate the problem. Host a food drive, or encouraging your place of work to do so, and donate food to the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center in New London, CT. These are two great and simple ways you can help alleviate hunger in Connecticut. On December 29th, the Gemma E. Moran Food Center will have a truck parked in front of the Garde Art’s Center in downtown New London, CT, and will be taking donations of non-perishable foods from 10am-10pm. Together we can help ease the hardships for those who are going hungry in Connecticut and New London County.