Fighting Food Insecurity

CT Food Bank's Rachel Laibson, center, accepts a donation from Local 2663's Paul Lavallee and Marilyn Fox.

The holidays are fast approaching and food insecurity is a continuing problem in Connecticut.

Council 4 union members are doing something about. Two examples:

AFSCME Local 1303-421, representing Region 4 school employees in Essex, Deep River and Chester, donated $500 to the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantry.

Local 1303-421 President Coral Rawn and Secretary Kim Johns recently presented the donation to Shirley Rutan, Coordinator for the Deep River Congregational Church meal site.

“We’re very grateful for the generosity of AFSCME Local 1303-421 members,” Rutan said. “Their contribution will go a long way.”

Rawn said union members decided to establish a Good and Welfare Committee for the purpose of making charitable donations. “It’s a good way for our union to give back and to support the communities where we live and work,” she said.

SSKP serves people in need in 11 shoreline communities, including the Region 4 towns of Essex, Deep River and Chester. Their 5 meal pantries distribute groceries to over 500 families per week, giving each family 3.5 days of food per week, and their 8 meal sites serve over 200 meals to individuals per week.

“Hunger is a real issue throughout our communities,” Johns noted. “We’re pleased to be able to help a wonderful organization doing important work.”

Local 1303-421 represents more than 20 school employees, including network technicians, custodians, nurses and secretaries.

AFSCME Local 2663, representing nearly 2,500 state employees in human and social services, donated $1,300 to Connecticut Food Bank in East Haven.

“We are grateful for the heartfelt generosity of AFSCME Local 2663 union members,” said Rachel Laibson, Interim Chief Development Officer for Connecticut Food Bank. “Every dollar donated allows us to feed someone in need for one day, so we thank Local 2663 for stepping up to the plate.”

Every year, Local 2663 donates the proceeds from its annual membership picnic to a local non-profit organization. This is the sixth straight year the union has selected Connecticut Food Bank.

“Our union members are proud to support the Connecticut Food Bank,” said Local 2663 President Paul Lavallee. “We’re on the front lines of serving people in need and so is Connecticut Food Bank, as they tackle the growing problem of food insecurity in our state.”

According to Feeding America, nearly 500,000 Connecticut residents are considered “food insecure.”

Approximately 68 percent of people seeking food assistance from Connecticut Food Bank’s network of feeding programs had to choose between paying for food or medicine in the last 12 months, according to the Hunger in America 2014 report for Connecticut.

Connecticut Food Bank is the largest centralized source of donated, emergency food in the state. Through warehouses in East Haven, Fairfield, and Waterbury, and affiliated distribution centers in New London and Stamford, Connecticut Food Bank provides food products to nearly 700 soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries and child and adult day programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham counties.

SSKP's Shirley Rutan, 2nd from right, accepts a contribution from Roberta Price, Coral Rawn and Kim Johns.

Thanks to our union members for caring on the job and in their communities!