NEW BRITAIN - It takes a community to fight hunger and that is what the New Britain Hunger Action Teams are trying to do through raising awareness, launching new initiatives, and connecting organizations.
The teams are coalitions that bring people from across the community together to develop local solutions to hunger. They work in towns and neighborhoods across the region, leveraging local resources and relationships to bring more attention about hunger, connect services to make it easier for people to get help, and come up with new programs that helps strengthen each community’s capacity to meet local needs.
During a regular meeting Monday morning, team members discussed the potential of creating a food policy commission for the city in order to build a structural plan to help defeat hunger and create a healthier city.
Hannah Hurwitz, director of community integration and partnership for Trifecta Ecosystems, said the commission would be a great way for a city to form a cohesive plan on how to win the battle against hunger and maintain a healthy community. Other states, including Massachusetts, have started to implement food policy commissions and the trend is gearing toward a positive direction.
“We’re in the process of reaching out to different community members and organizations to discuss the possibilities,” she said. “There needs to be a community discussion about this because it affects everyone and we want to do it the right way.”
During the outreach process, Jamie Rosenblatt, a University of Connecticut student currently interning at New Britain Roots, said she has been heavily involved with the outreach developments and have witnessed a lot of interest for creating the commission.
“People are realizing that this is something good to invest in,” she said, emphasizing that the commission is also a way to look at the bigger picture. “We need to make structural changes to existing food policies that will help make New Britain healthier and have less people go hungry. This would also be an avenue to make access to food readily available and affordable.”
A related program that the team believes the community needs to be more aware of is the Family Wize Prescription Discount Program. In partnership with United Way, anyone can use this program at most pharmacies across the U.S. whether or not they have insurance to get their medication. Those interested can visit www.familywise.org to see how they can get their discount card.
The program negotiates discounts on medications and anyone with their pharmacy discount card can use it to get the lowest price possible at their local participating pharmacies, according to the organization.
Susan Pribyson, executive director for Gifts of Love, a nonprofit organization that offers short-term programs and education to help reduce financial crises for working individuals and families in the Greater Hartford area, said people need to be made aware about Family Wize so they can take advantage of it.
“We all know medications are very expensive and most people can’t afford them,” she said. “If more people are aware about this, then more people will be able to get the medicine that they need.”
For more information, please visit www.foordshare.org .