Hungry people do not live only in third-world countries, but strive to survive in our local community. Since they tend to live outside the mainstream, their presence is often overlooked. The mission of the Branford Food Council is simple-to provide groceries for families in need. What is difficult, however, is finding the resources to meet those families' needs.
Families are qualified for assistance through the Branford Counseling Center. Those who qualify usually include the elderly, the physically and mentally challenged, the disabled, single parent families, the unemployed, and the working poor. Last year help reached an average of 113 families per month (387 people). Families receive food weekly and special dinners during the holidays.
There has always been a struggle to obtain enough food, but the need is particularly acute now due to diminishing supplies at the national food banks. "Food pantries" and "soup kitchens" rely on the Connecticut Regional Food Bank to supply most of their needs at a substantial discount or for free. In the past three years, the amount of food received from the Food Bank has been reduced by more than half. This gap must be filled by the community through cash and food donations.
"In spite of the challenges facing us," says Branford Food Council President Jay Webb, "we are encouraged by the wonderful support of the community in terms of food drives, financial contributions, and individual donations of food. Friends, businesses, churches, civic organizations, and foundations have offered their help."
The Branford Food Council was started by Branford churches over 30 years ago and those churches play and important, but not exclusive, role in current operations. The Food Council is a 100% volunteer effort located at 30 Harrison Avenue in the Volunteer Services Center.
Understanding the increased need in 2007, the Branford Community Foundation was happy to provide the Food Council with grants totaling $5,000.00. The photos above show some of the many dedicated volunteers who help run the Branford Food Council.