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New grant aims to address food equity in Connecticut

EAST HARTFORD, CT - JANUARY 12, 2021:Volunteers load the cars and push the drivers through the line at Foodshare that has been distributing food at Rentschler Field in East Hartford since the start of the pandemic. This site alone has served over 227,000 households. January 12, 2021 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Joe Amon/Connecticut Public)
Joe Amon
Connecticut Public
"In the year 2022, there's still 425,000 people here in Connecticut who are food insecure," said Jason Jakubowski, CEO of Connecticut Foodshare. During the peak of the pandemic, Foodshare and its volunteers (above) provided food for hundreds of thousands of households via their distributions at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

Raytheon Technologies has awarded Connecticut Foodshare $1.5 million to help increase food access in communities across the state experiencing high food insecurity.

In the state, 1 in 8 people is food insecure, according to Feeding America. But with a new grant, residents living in rural areas and communities of color will see a boost in available nutritious food at partner pantries.

Summer is the hardest time of year to be food insecure because children are out of school, said Jason Jakubowski, CEO of Connecticut Foodshare.

He also said the state’s issues with food equity and access are misunderstood.

“A lot of people look at us and say we’re ‘the richest state in the country, obviously, we’d have no issue with food insecurity’ — that can’t be farther from the truth,” Jakubowski said. “In the year 2022, there’s still 425,000 people here in the state of Connecticut who are food insecure.”

Jakubowski said a Foodshare meal gap analysis shows Waterbury, Stamford, Norwalk, West Haven, Bristol, New Haven, New Britain, Groton, Manchester and Greenwich are the areas with the biggest meal gap — or the meals that families and individuals can’t afford.

He added that part of the equity issue is that resources are often directed toward larger cities when there’s also need in smaller municipalities.

“That’s not always where the biggest gaps are, because they also have a tremendous amount of services in those municipalities,” he said.

Jakubowski said the work to increase services is already underway. The grant will also help to expand mental health and addiction services to residents in smaller cities.

Learn more
Residents can visit ctfoodshare.orgor call 2-1-1 for more information.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla Savitt focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. Michayla has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that she was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.