WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– With so many out of work, the demand at local food pantries continues to grow. In West Hartford, members of a Jewish community center braved the elements and the fear of a pandemic to give back to their neighbors in need.
From non-perishables to staples and diapers, volunteers at West Hartford’s Mandell Jewish Community Center spent all day Friday collecting critical items for the local food pantry.
“As soon as the West Hartford Food Pantry called us, we said, ‘of course we would be more than happy to do this,’ knowing our members would respond,” said Annie Keith, Chief Operating Officer, Mandell Jewish Community Center (JCC).
And respond they did. Some before the center even opened its doors at 9 o’clock.
“You look at all the restaurants, you look at all of the stores. You even look at my former profession, the dentists who are out of business, and they have high overheads. And people in need generally who need food,” said Judd Fink, West Hartford, JCC Member.
One benefit of holding this drive now, the Jewish holiday of Passover starts on Wednesday. And many people are cleaning out their cupboards of those things they won’t be eating for Passover like Cheerios.
“Some of the volunteers who are coming are regular JCC members who spend a lot of time here and have a little extra time on their hands right now,” said Keith.
The pantry has had to change the way it operates amid the coronavirus outbreak. The building has been closed since mid-March.
Curbside pick-up of pre-bagged food is the new normal and demand is up.
“While you’re home, sometimes the families can’t provide those meals, so I think it’s just good to give foods so they don’t have to pay for that,” said Faith Grunwald, 6th grader, Glastonbury.
The JCC host drives for various causes every month and Covid-19 wasn’t going to stop that.
“We’re really proud of the community we have here,” said Keith.