WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After 18 months, Connecticut Foodshare will close its emergency drive-thru food distribution sites on Oct. 30.
Officials with Connecticut Foodshare said more than 14 million meals were provided through the distribution sites, which opened at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. At the height of the pandemic, the drive-thru sites were serving more than 2,000 households per day.
On Monday, a steady stream of cars came through the emergency food distribution site located in the parking lot owned by the Mashantucket Pequots on Route 2 in Norwich.
“We’ve averaged about a thousand families every week,” explained Mayor Peter Nystrom (R-Norwich).
He and other volunteers have been at this Connecticut Foodshare site every Monday since January.
“Very very very helpful,” said Maria Piegari of Griswold. “The eggs it’s amazing.”
But Monday along with those eggs, volunteers also gave folks information on where they can find other help feeding their families because this site is closing down.
They were told to call 211 or log onto connecticutfoodshare.org for other locations.
“They told us today that it was the last day and they wished us a healthy, well, good winter,” said Piegari.
We’re told that when the Norwich site opened at 9:30 a.m. Monday the cars were wrapped all around the parking lot and out onto the street. So folks say there continues to be a great need in that area.
“Being a low-income family it’s going to hurt during the winter not being able to come here,” said Joy Driscoll of Griswold.
Connecticut Foodshare has looked at the need and the numbers and with more people being vaccinated and more jobs now available the number of people using the emergency sites has dropped to about a third.
“We’re moving beyond the emergency,” said Jason Jakubowski, Pres. & CEO of Connecticut Foodshare.
Even though the eight emergency sites will shut down there are still more than 700 other options for people in need.
“That includes our mobile truck sites,” said Jakubowski. “That includes all of our pantries in various different communities.”
In Norwich, St. Vincent de Paul Place will continue to welcome people into its food pantry. They just have to get out of their car instead of driving through as they did at the emergency site.
Anyone who depends on these sites for food is encouraged to contact a pantry or meal program in the community. To access other food resources, go to www.ctfoodshare.org/find-help, call 2-1-1, or go to www.211ct.org.