NEW BRITAIN - Thanks to donations from individuals and community organizations, the Human Resources Agency of New Britain’s food pantry will stay open for another year.
The HRA recently received funding from the American Savings Foundation, United Way of Central and Northeastern CT, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain and a slew of private donors to help keep its Food and Resource Center on Osgood Avenue operating through December 2018.
While Foodshare supplies most of the food for the pantry, the pantry needs $10,000 to $15,000 in funding annually to operate. The monetary donations pay for staff, utilities, maintenance and other things needed to operate.
“Recent devastation from catastrophes far from New Britain is no doubt stretching everyone’s ability to give. It’s heartwarming to see that we can still respond to those in our back yard who also need our help,” said Rocco Tricarico, the executive director of the HRA. “We have just avoided a local tragedy by helping people continue to access their basic food needs. For some, the pantry is their only source of food.”
In May, the Common Council finalized the city’s plan to distribute money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, allocating almost $2 million to numerous organizations and programs that benefit low-income people. Every year, the city receives federal funds and distributes them to local organizations through Community Development Block Grants and HOME programs.
The HRA didn’t receive the $10,000 it asked for in CDBG funds to keep the pantry open, so it was up to the New Britain community to keep the pantry afloat.
“For nearly a decade, the Osgood Food and Resource Center has made a significant difference supporting basic needs, and we are proud to continue our investment for the coming year,” said Maria Falvo, president and CEO of the American Savings Foundation.
Established in 2009, the New Britain Food and Resource Center serves New Britain residents who live below the federal poverty level and receive food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, the center served more than 1,700 people from 748 families.
“I cannot imagine our lives without our food pantry - the help we receive allows us to have a stable life,” said Debbie Kowaleski, a client and pantry volunteer. “My disabled husband and I are seniors living month-to-month on his Social Security. Our food stamp benefit is $15 a month. I volunteer at the pantry because I feel that it needs as much help as I can offer and I know others are much worse off.”
To learn more about the pantry or make a donation, visit www.hranbct.org .
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.