Food banks face challening Thanksgiving season
By Evan Pajer - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Mon., Nov. 12, 2012
For many in Connecticut, who will spend Thanksgiving eating an early dinner with family and friends, their next meal is something to take for granted. For some in East Hartford, however, Thanksgiving dinner may not happen without the support of one of the town's food banks. During the Thanksgiving holiday, four of the town's food banks will be working overtime to deliver turkeys and food to the town's lowest-income residents.
The food banks are run out of the town's churches: St. Rose's, St. Mary's, St. Isaac Jogue's, and South Congregational Church. They work with the town's Social Services Department to provide groceries to those in need. They make up half of the town's emergency food supply chain, with soup kitchens, such as one run out of St. John's Church, making up the other half.
Anita Morrisson, who runs the food bank at St. Mary's Church, said that the food bank has been seeing increased demand for assistance throughout the year. “The demand on food has been exceptional this year,” she said. St. Mary's, which serves as many as 120 individuals and families each month, will give out baskets of food for the Thanksgiving holiday, in addition to the three to five days worth of food it already gives out to those in need, which greatly increases the demand for food. “It's definitely very high in November because of the baskets,” Morrisson said. “The holidays definitely have something to do with it.”
Although the food banks run primarily on donations from Foodshare, a large non-profit organization based in the Greater Hartford area that takes donations of food from supermarkets and other sponsors and delivers it to food banks and soup kitchens at minimal cost, Morrisson said that individual donations to the churches are always welcome.
While the food banks are not tracked by most charity rating systems due to the fact that they are run through already tax-exempt churches and are exempt from submitting forms to the IRS, Foodshare, which has certified all four of the food banks, was given a 65.5 out of 70 rating by ratings website Charity Navigator. Last year, Foodshare spent 95 percent of its revenue on program services, a blanket category that includes any spending related to a non-profit organization's mission.
Morrisson said that all of the food banks in East Hartford are currently looking for volunteers and donations. Anyone looking to donate can call 860-289-7916 for more information.