WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — People all over Connecticut are getting help from Brass City Harvest in Waterbury.
Executive Director Sue Pronovost and the staff at the Brass City Regional Food Hub help fight food insecurity by providing emergency food boxes to those in need.
“This is a person, it is not a box,” Pronovost said. “This is a person who is going to enjoy orchard apples. They’re going to enjoy the last tomatoes of the season. They’re going to enjoy corn. This is a person. It is not a box.”
“The pandemic has pulled the curtain back on a lot of problems that exist in Waterbury and across the nation. Fresh food access has come under a new focus. And we’re finding the people who didn’t have it.”
The food hub is in inner-city Waterbury, in the south end neighborhood where access to healthy food and grocery stores is limited largely because of transportation barriers.
Families have easy access to healthy food for their children.
“I think it’s really important,” said local mother Lianny Gonzalez. “I really try to teach them to eat healthy, a lot of fruits and vegetables.”
There is no cost to low-income families. Their food is paid for with farmers’ market coupons and SNAP benefits paid for by the USDA.
“Well, there are more people in need than you can even think,” said Richard Myers, a Brass City Harvest worker. “It actually brings tears to my eyes sometimes.”
The food hub gets its fruits and vegetables from Connecticut farmers, contracting with them, guaranteeing them a source of income that keeps them afloat during tough times.
News 8 was at the food hub when a truck from Arisco Farms in Cheshire dropped off some of its homegrown vegetables. The farm is experiencing hardships after a recent storm damaged crops.
“We’ve got at least 70% damage here,” owner Alex Arisco said.
But deals with the Brass City Harvest Regional Food Hub keep some money rolling in.
“We’re buying his inventory, we’re cleaning it off, boxing it off, and it’s going to go off and feed the needy,” Pronovost said.
“They’ve been very good to me,” Arisco said. “We’ve been packing orders for them at least three times a week.”
The regional food hub, the first of its kind built in the state, is opening up new markets for farmers and providing easier access for those in the city.
The Brass City Harvest Regional Food Hub provides at least a quarter of a million pounds of healthy food throughout the greater Waterbury area, not just at the food hub itself.
Staff delivers food boxes to seniors and to low-income families.
“We get excited,” said Delores Lanier at the Waterbury Senior Center. “We get here early because usually there’s a long line.”
At the Wilby Schoolhouse Apartments, Bridget Huggins is wheelchair-bound and is grateful for what Brass City Harvest does.
“I want to say thank you for helping us get our food,” Huggins said.
Pronovost dreamed up the concept of the Brass City Harvest Regional Food Hub.
“We’re put here on Earth to make a difference.”
Learn more about the Brass City Harvest here.