NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Mayor Justin Elicker and New Haven’s Office of Food Systems and Policy office released their plans for addressing the inequity in access to food among the most vulnerable in the city.
The city’s Director of Food Systems and Policy said the need for food has always been high in the city, but the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation. Food Policy has been working with a three-part plan to keep the most vulnerable in the city fed during the pandemic.
- Youths (age 18 and under) – the city is distributing grab-and-go services for students at more than 30 schools across the state three days a week.
- Seniors (55+) – individuals can receive food pantry items – (60+) – individuals can receive meal deliveries through community and senior services
- Low-Income Families/Individuals – the city is supporting food pantries, soup kitchens that already exist and are working hard to remain open. The city is also helping them modify their operations and protective measures during the pandemic.
Other initiatives from Office of Food Systems and Policy:
- The reopening of the police food pantry substations. They are now approved for operation.
- They have been operating working on a food pantry delivery model to organize direct delivery to homes where individuals shouldn’t or can’t leave their homes during the pandemic. This program has been operating for 4 weeks, has 64 volunteer drivers, and has delivered over 1000 bags to 784 homes.
- The city is working with U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro to advocate for fast track online food purchasing for those on SNAP.
- New, interactive map on the city website to find school meal distribution, food pantries, and soup kitchens opened near you. Updated daily. No proof of income or residency required.
To find a soup kitchen or food pantry near you or find access to meals: https://covid19.newhavenct.gov/pages/food
Wednesday, Mayor Justin Elicker announced the city now has 1,253 positive coronavirus cases and 42 related deaths.
The mayor also gave an update on the new Fairhaven and Cornell Scott Hill Health Center coronavirus testing sites, saying both sites were overwhelmed with calls and people signing up for appointments on their opening day. Each site has the capacity to test 20-30 people a day, and both sites report filling their capacity Wednesday.
Mayor Elicker said this is a good sign and highlights the clear need for the sites in the new locations.
The mayor also wanted to highlight a message from Yale New Haven Hospital. The hospital reported they are seeing a decrease in non-COVID-related ER visits. They suspect it is due to the public’s apprehension to come to a hospital during a pandemic. Mayor Elicker said, YNHH encourages the public to come to the hospital if they need medical attention and that there are safeguards in place to keep all patients safe.