EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A stadium parking lot was never intended to be a food distribution site. But Foodshare extended its operation at East Hartford’s Rentschler Field through the month of August.
One by one. With trucks raised, a handful of workers and dozens of volunteers drop around 50 lbs of food into some 1,300 to 1,700 cars. Five days a week.
“We’re in a spot now where the economic pandemic, the economic situation is just going to continue,” said Matt Lebeau, East Hartford, Volunteer.
The state offered up the home of the Huskies in early April. A month into the pandemic Rentchler Field was converted into a food distribution site for Foodshare. Now, the operation has been extended into a fifth month – through August.
“This particular distribution costs us about $50,000 a week. It’s a very expensive distribution. It is not a permanent distribution. This is an emergency distribution. We are only able to keep it up because of donations from the corporate community, philanthropic community and of course from individuals from all across central Connecticut,” said Jason Jakubowski, President & CEO, Foodshare.
This site doesn’t open for another 10 minutes but already hundreds of cars are in line demonstrating how great this need is.
This regional food bank serving Hartford and Tolland Counties did a study recently finding some 70 percent of clients here never visited a food pantry pre-Covid.
And with extra pandemic unemployment benefits ending in July, these lines aren’t expected to slow anytime soon.
“These last couple of weeks we’ve seen an increase in the amount of cars that we’ve had coming through,”said Jakubowski.