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Sen. Murphy pushing to extend food assistance programs

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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — For the many families struggling to put food on the table, summer camps are helping by supplying nutritious meals to kids. However, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has some concerns about those food programs continuing once the school year begins.

Summer camp at Goodwin Elementary School in East Hartford means parents get a break, kids get outside, and those kids get fed. That is more important than ever. Mayor Marcia Leclerc (D-East Hartford) knows this is a big help for the many residents dealing with food insecurity.

“We’re also fortunate to have a number of food pantries as well as Food Share at Rentschler Field doing food distribution,” said Leclerc.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) toured the camp Friday morning to take a look at what they are doing, and to talk about how it can keep going.

“Right now we’re in a big fight to continue funding nutrition programs for the states,” said Sen. Murphy.

Meeting the sudden, overwhelming demand for food has been a challenge.

“We’ve been able to cobble together federal funding sources in order to get money to food pantries, to school meal programs, to summer meal programs,” Murphy explained.

There is a fight in Washington right now over whether to renew federal unemployment benefits. If that money goes away without improvements in the economy, Murphy says even more people will need help paying for food. He wants those unemployment benefits extended.

“My job is to make sure that unemployment benefits continue, that this food assistance funding continues so that we don’t get right back into a crisis,” Murphy said.

The problem goes beyond hungry kids. The head of End Hunger CT says they are still seeing very high demand at food pantries, much of that demand from people who had never been to a food pantry before this year.

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