NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Food giveaways might not be making headlines anymore, but food insecurity is still a real concern for thousands of Connecticut families. The Connecticut Food Bank is working to meet one particular need with what it is calling the “Dairy Express”.
“It’s a new program with the Food Bank where volunteers take out the refrigerated van with fresh milk,” explained long-time volunteer Tom Stone.
Thursdays, Stone is in New London with enough Guida’s milk to give away 4 half gallons to everyone who needs them. Perishables like this always take on a special priority for food-related charities.
“Anything nutritious and fresh is harder for food banks to get out, as opposed to canned goods,” Stone said.
Fresh and non-perishable food is all more in-demand than ever. Before the pandemic, 1 in 8 children in Connecticut was food insecure. That is now 1 in 6 children. Chris Watkins pulled up to the Dairy Express to pick up milk to help out some of them.
“A family whose mother is working in a nursing home right now,” Watkins said. “When she is not able to come and pick up for her family, I come and pick up for her family.”
The pandemic has also put a strain on local dairy farms. So much of their milk is usually bought by restaurants and cafeterias that are either closed or operating at a fraction of their usual capacity.
As so many people struggle to put food on the table, volunteers like Tom Stone are working hard to help out.
“A good meal has always been very important to me,” Stone said. “To make other people have easier access to food is very rewarding.”
The Dairy express makes two stops a day, multiple days a week. For more information, go to the Connecticut Food Bank’s website.