HARTFORD â€“ New Britainâ€™s Hunger Action Team announced that it will assist Foodshare in translating its materials into Arabic on Thursday at the sixth annual Hunger Action Team Symposium which took place at the Chrysalis Training and Conference Center.
Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Foodshare, said that more than 120 attendees from Hunger Action Teams across Central Connecticut took part in the event.
The HAT Symposium brings together the entire HAT network in an annual event to share successes, future plans, ideas and challenges.
Cierra Stancil, associate program officer at the American Savings Foundation, was on board at the event and spoke about the New Britainâ€™s HAT achievements and goals.
In response to the growing Sudanese population in New Britain, the team will not only collaborate with the translation of materials to Arabic but it will also collaborate with the Sudanese American House of Connecticut, which has a community center in New Britain at 11 South St.
Stancil mentioned many HAT achievements that occurred in New Britain in 2018 including that the Meals and More calendar was developed so that people knew when and where the food was going to be distributed and in what way.
In addition, the Human Resources Agency of New Britain continues to provide 150 Commodity Supplemental Food Program boxes each month for eligible seniors.
â€śI know that HRA has tried several different ways to make distribution easier for the senior population,â€ť Stancil said.
Eleven people attended the second listening session on senior hunger, where numerous suggestions were made including to offer left over Senior Center meals to those who may have forgotten to request one.
Future plans for the New Britain HAT include collaborating with Trifecta Ecosystems with its â€ścity that feeds itselfâ€ť efforts by accessing healthy and affordable food grown and made in New Britain.
Other plans include the development of a community food plan modeled after a similar study done in Everett, Massachusetts, and utilizing PhotoVoice, a video recording of community comments and concerns where interviewers go out to where people live and work rather than calling a community meeting.
The Bristol HAT was also on board at the event and Marge Rivera, from The Salvation Army of Bristol presented the achievements and goals of the team including their most successful project which she said was summer meals with more than 21,000 meals served in 2018.
In 2020, Bristolâ€™s HAT has plans to re-start the pilot program Pic Pac which is a partnership between the Bristol HAT and ShopRite. The program allows for families to order healthy food bundles online and have them delivered for free to Bristol residents. HAT is also working towards starting two new Foodshare partner programs to increase food access in Bristol. The team will work toward food and housing security for Bristol families and will create deeper connections with the various resources available in Bristol.
Although the team has many plans and successes, it is also facing challenges.
â€śWe lost a food pantry (in Bristol) and soup kitchen in our town and it has impacted our community tremendously so we are going to work on that,â€ť Rivera said.
Barbara Womer, community volunteer with the Newington Hunger Action Team said they have plans to continue the Newington Community Garden project this summer.
â€śWe have planted, tended and harvested a garden at the Newington Community Gardens and donated the fresh produce to Newingtonâ€™s Food Bank,â€ť Womer said.
The future plans for the HAT in Newington include participating in the 36th annual Walk Against Hunger on April 27.
Also, based on the success of the Got Lunch Newington program which benefits children, the team plans to look at the feasibility of a similar program for seniors.
To learn more about the Hunger Action Team and Foodshare, visit http://site.foodshare.org.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.