By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont announced that state agencies, private businesses and nonprofits are working together to help provide state residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with food boxes
The Salvation Army and United Way have partnered with DoorDash, a company known for their door-to-door delivery services with restaurants, to expand the delivery of food boxes to three communities, including Bridgeport, Torrington and Waterbury.
With this program, people in need of food can call United Way 2-1-1 and express their need.
Lamont said that the state is trying to come up with unique ways to help those affected by the Coronavirus.
This pandemic forced our state to think outside the box when it has come to the delivery of services, and even the delivery of food to those who need it,” Lamont said. “This collaboration is critical to making sure families across our state do not go hungry, and it’s a creative use of resources to help so many of our residents get through this crisis, which has impacted both our public health and our economy.”
United Way communicates their request to the local Salvation Army pantries to prepare food boxes. With a pre-arranged delivery date, DoorDash picks up the food boxes at the Salvation Army for delivery to the individuals in need.
Overseen by Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt, the project has evolved since the start of the pandemic to assist those in need of food. What began with a focus on prepared meals has shifted to other food boxes, providing recipients with a greater variety of food over a longer duration.
Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt said that this program is one example of how the state is helping those in need.
“This is an example of individual organizations stepping up and coming together, being creative, and utilizing existing systems to meet the needs of our residents during the pandemic,” Hurlburt said. “I commend our partners for their flexibility, dedication, and collaboration to ensure that high-risk individuals have access to food during their time of need.”
Now in its third week, the program has more than quadrupled the number of boxes delivered since the start. Food boxes are filled with non-perishable foods, including canned goods, apple sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter, tuna, and granola.
Recipients are those identified as homebound, high-risk individuals, typically over 65 years of age.
The effort is one of many being undertaken to support emergency feeding in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
It is serving as a pilot project for a larger, soon-to-be-executed effort between the Connecticut Department of Social Services and The Salvation Army that will enable ConneCT Resource Coordinators to have a referral service for individuals who test positive for COVID.
Major Gregory Hartshorn, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Southern New England Division, said that this program makes food accessible as residents are currently in quarantine.
“While The Salvation Army has been actively serving food boxes to families in Connecticut since last March, we are especially grateful for this new partnership with the State of Connecticut, United Way 2-1-1, and Door Dash, where we can ensure people in quarantine may continue to have meals delivered to their place of residence,” Hartshorn said.