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View From The Green

Food Scarcity Is a Reality in Our Communities


By Colleen Gundlach

Gabby Nelson’s story about food justice in this issue of Norfolk Now highlights the incredible disparity in our country between those who have and those who have not. It’s an uncomfortable and disturbing fact that people are hungry or malnourished, not only in big cities but also in our little northwest corner of the state. There are hundreds of individuals and families who are served by food banks and soup kitchens in Norfolk, Canaan and Winsted alone.

In Norfolk, the Church of Christ opens its doors on Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and most of the day on Sunday so that people can come and take what they need from the Norfolk Food Pantry. Set up inside the rear entrance of Battell Chapel, this pantry provides nonperishable foods such as pasta, cereals, tuna fish, peanut butter, condiments and much more, to 12 to 15 families each week. As described in more detail in last month’s issue of Norfolk Now, anyone needing food can just come in and take what they need, no questions asked. Norfolk area residents generously support this program through their donations of food and money, which enable the church to purchase gift cards to allow recipients to buy fruits, vegetables and perishables.

Right next door to Norfolk, in North Canaan, the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry serves more than 171 different households each year at its facility in Pilgrim House at 30 Granite Avenue. Every Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m. they are open to distribute food to those in need. Local farms regularly donate eggs and lettuces, while meat and other fresh produce come from the Connecticut Food Bank. Fishes and Loaves is organized and operated by the North Canaan Congregational Church, but it is truly an ecumenical effort, with support from St. Joseph’s, Canaan United Methodist and the Canaan Seventh Day Adventist churches as well. Dozens of volunteers build shelves, raise money, transport food, stock shelves and distribute the food.

For a hot meal, our neighbors in Winsted operate the Open Door Soup Kitchen in St. James Church at 160 Main Street, every weekday, Monday through Friday and also on the second and third Saturdays of every month. They serve hot coffee and breakfast rolls starting at 8:30 a.m. and then offer a hot meal from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.     It is staffed by volunteers who come out to plan, shop and prepare the meals that are served to 50 to 70 people per day.

These are just a few of the volunteer organizations that work to help the hungry and the needy in this area. This holiday season, would you consider volunteering your time, talents or resources to these or other organization not listed here that supplies food to the less fortunate? If you would like to help, consider dropping off your perishable foods at the Norfolk Food Pantry on your way to Berkshire Country Store for your morning coffee. When you’re headed out to Stop & Shop next time, consider swinging by Pilgrim House and ask what you can do to help. Call the Open Door at 860-738-2449 or stop in and ask for Carrie or Donna to see where they can use your help. As they say, many hands make light work. These organizations are doing great work. They just need a few more hands.


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