Foodshare aims to be winter-ready for next year as 2020 food distribution wraps up soon


EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Since April 21, Foodshare has set up Rentschler Field as a base for distributing food to an average of 2,000 cars a day, and that does not appear to be changing Christmas week.

Volunteer Sue Lucas-Deneen said, “My mother, 90-years-old, survived Covid. So once I knew she was out of the woods, I really felt compelled to get out.”

This operation was supposed to be short-lived in the spring, but virus cases haven’t stopped. Thousands are still lining up each week for some 20 pounds of food.

“It gives us purpose. We’ve made friendships, and we call ourselves the Foodshare family,” Lucas-Deneen said.

Volunteers aren’t the only ones going above and beyond to keep this going for the holidays.

“It wasn’t easy getting this setup here for today, and it won’t be easy next Tuesday either.” President and CEO of Foodshare Jason Jakubowski said. “But we’re committed to doing what we can to help people.”

The tents had to come down for last week’s snowstorm. DOT Plows cleared the way for thousands of cars. Jakubowski says this emergency operation wasn’t built to weather winter months.

“We’re looking for solutions for January, February, March. We do not want to have to shut down this operation those months,” he said.

Jakubowski encourages those in need to connect with some 250 partner food pantries, 66 mobile sites because one day soon, this will come to an end. In the meantime, he remains humbled by these lines and inspired by donors and volunteers.

He said, “It is equal parts depressing and uplifting.”

Tuesday, Dec. 29 will be the last Foodshare food distribution of the year.

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