NEW BRITAIN - When Jason Jakubowski packs up his office at the Hospital for Special Care at the end of the month, the unique clock that currently sits on his desk will make the move to his new office at Foodshare.
“I keep this on my desk to remind me where I came from,” the New Britain native said of the desk ornament, which is an authentic Fafnir bearing that was converted into a clock.
The clock was a gift from Fafnir to Jakubowski’s grandmother, who was a secretary at the old New Britain factory.
According to Jakubowski, his family and upbringing in the city played a major part of influencing his career of public service and helping those in need.
“Community service has really been my family’s passion,” Jakubowski told The Herald. “All four of my grandparents settled here in New Britain and raised their families here in New Britain, and we all value the importance of community.”
Foodshare, a non-profit, anti-hunger organization headquartered in Bloomfield, announced Wednesday that Jakubowski will be the organization’s new president and CEO starting July 31. His selection came after a nationwide search of candidates by Foodshare’s Transition Committee and Board of Directors.
Jakubowski, who currently serves as vice president of External Relations at the HSC, brings more than 15 years of public health and public affairs experience to the organization.
“I’m an advocate first and foremost, and I think that’s exactly what you need in a position like this,” Jakubowski said. “My entire career has had something to do with helping folks who are impoverished find some way out of poverty … Hunger is just another way of looking at that larger issue of poverty.”
The New Britain native has been active in the community since he was young. He was president of his class at New Britain High School in 1995 and began volunteering at the HSC when he was a teenager.
“My parents were always very active in the community,” Jakubowski said of his parents Ron and Aurora and their influence on him and his brother, Nick.
“Community activism has always been a part of what we’ve done,” he said.
Jakubowski was also a city official in New Britain, serving as an alderman on the Common Council from 1999 – when he was just 21 years old – to 2003. He was elected city treasurer in 2003, and he ran for mayor in 2005.
“I’m glad I did it when I did it,” Jakubowski said of his time serving on the Common Council. “It was a tremendous experience and something that I learned a lot from-not just about government, but mostly about people and how people interact.”
Moving forward to his new position, Jakubowski is excited to stay connected with the New Britain community.
“While the office is not physically located in New Britain, New Britain is a very large part of its coverage area,” Jakubowski said. “Outside of Hartford itself, New Britain is one of the more distressed communities economically, and there are a lot of services that Foodshare provides here in town.”
Among other services, Foodshare provides much of the food and produce for the Human Resource Agency of New Britain’s food pantry.
“Obviously we want to do whatever we can to help this city. I think we’re very cognizant of the economic realities of today’s society. Its unfortunate cities are is as much distress as they are,” Jakubowski said. “In Hartford and Tolland counties together, one out of every six kids goes hungry. That’s a lot.”
The New Britain native emphasized that helping the city will always be a focus of his.
“I think what folks in New Britain should know is ‘Hey, I’m here, and you have an open line to me,’” Jakubowski said of his continued advocacy for the city. “It’s those that have the least that need the most representing. Somebody’s got to speak for them, somebody’s got to fight for them and somebody has to help them in terms of bettering themselves and bettering society.”
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.