HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Food insecurity is on the rise across the country and one nonprofit estimates there are nearly 400,000 people experiencing hunger in Connecticut. Now, federal funding is on the way to help eligible families and children to receive meals at school.
“We simply can’t meet the need without government support,” said Jason Jakubowski, President & CEO of Connecticut Foodshare.
A call for help to fight rising costs in Connecticut, where leaders say 1 out of 8 children is food insecure. Federal funding is being distributed nationwide, with $154 billion dollars to help eligible families, more than $28 billion to children’s nutrition programs, and $6 billion to serve women, infants and children.
Leaders say Connecticut is receiving $10 to $15 million and that money will also help children receive meals during summer months.
Jakubowski says benefits under SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, have a greater impact on families, allowing them to go buy healthy foods they need.
“For every one meal that a food bank can provide, the SNAP program can provide ten,” Jakubowski said.
Lucy Nolan with End Hunger Connecticut says children who receive proper nutrition come to school ready to learn.
“There’s less disruption in class, less kids being sick, and frankly, there’s no point in putting any money into education if the kids aren’t fed because that’s the foundation for all of our education,” Nolan said.
It’s a foundation that leaders say they’re building on, but aren’t quite there yet.
“The good news is that there are not as many people who are hungry as there were at the peak of the pandemic,” Jakubowski said. “The bad news is we are nowhere near back to where we were pre-pandemic.”
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal says it’s a fight worth investing in.
“We are going to fight for more,” Blumenthal said. “There’s no question that we need to continue this fight.”