United Way to fund pantry, job help, kiosk

Published on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:17
Written by LISA BACKUS


NEW BRITAIN - The United Way of New Britain and Berlin is providing more than $14,000 to help feed low-income residents, remove barriers to getting jobs and install a new 2-1-1 kiosk at City Hall.

Funding for each of the proposals was approved by the agency’s advisory board, said Maura Cook, director of community engagement for the United Way of New Britain and Berlin.

The New Britain Food and Resource Center, run by the city Human Resources Agency, will receive a $10,000 award to keep the food pantry running through 2018 while providing case management and access to other resources such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for low-income families.

The food pantry at the New Britain Food and Resource Center, 460 Osgood Ave., feeds 600 families - about 1,200 people - annually.

The center previously relied on federal Community Development Block Grant funding administered by the city, said HRA Executive Director Rocco Tricarico. But the city has not provided money for the food pantry for the past two years. The award from the United Way will go toward buying low-cost food from Foodshare to sustain the food pantry for the next year, he said.

“There is no specific line item in any budget for the food pantry,” Tricarico said. “We’re really relying on donations of food and money and grants from places like the United Way and the American Savings Foundation.”

Clients of the food pantry will also be given case management, since low-income families often have other needs that must be addressed, along with other resources for finding low-cost, healthy food, he said.

The Path to Employment porgram, part of Mayor Erin Stewart’s Building Hope Together Permanent Work Plan to End Homelessness, will also receive funding.

The money will go toward transportation, uniforms and licensing, all of which will help people find employment, Cook said.

The United Way will also fund a 2-1-1 kiosk at City Hall, Cook said.

The kiosk will allow people to call 2-1-1 to ask questions or find shelter. It also will have a computer with a 2-1-1 database through which people can find referrals for all types of issues.

“I think we are the first ones in our region to have a 2-1-1 kiosk,” Cook said. “We are interested in working with people to give them access to referrals. We thought it would be a great partnership with the city and it allows people to make a phone call and find information they need.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:17. Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2018 22:20.