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News Aug 25, 2014 - 4:07:28 AM

United Way of Western Connecticut Announces $25,000 Grant from Walmart for The Danbury Food Collaborative

By United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC)

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Pictured from left to right: Adam Blaney, Walmart Market Supply Chain Manager of Southern Connecticut; Joseph Grasso, Store Manager, Danbury Walmart; Sharon Burns, Walmart Market Human Resources Manager for Southern Connecticut; Anacenia Rodriguez, Office Associate, Danbury Walmart; Nancy Rozan, Zone Merchandise Supervisor, Danbury Walmart; Stephanie West, Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut; Elizabeth Garron, Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut; Michael Greene, Interfaith AIDS Ministry; Karen Mello, Director of Financial Stability (contributed photo)
DANBURY, CT - The Walmart Foundation State Giving Team has awarded a $25,000 grant to The Danbury Food Collaborative (DFC), a group spearheaded and led by United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC). The DFC is comprised of twelve non-profit agencies, including Danbury’s food pantries and soup kitchens, working together with a common mission to improve access to food, quality of food and sustainability of food for residents in greater Danbury.

Since its formation in March 2013, the DFC has issued a Guide to Accessing Food in Danbury, has held joint community food drives, and has also partnered with Community Plates, a fresh food rescue effort in the city. In addition, part of the DFC’s work this past year included conducting an internal survey among the member pantries and soup kitchens. The survey was intended to further assess the needs of the community and learn how to improve food services for residents. Data from this survey showed that many of the food programs do not have enough access to fresh, healthy food for their clients. This is due to both a lack of access to these items as well as lack of refrigeration necessary to store and distribute fresh food.

Without adequate refrigeration, food programs can be limited to dry and packaged “middle grocery aisle” food items. Fresher and healthier foods can be a welcome addition to households that are weighing the cost of rent or heating bills against the cost of buying food for their families and are forced to rely on using a pantry or congregate meal site. Research also shows that a diet lacking fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs etc. can lead to health problems over time.

“Walmart is proud to support The Danbury Food Collaborative and to work with them to alleviate hunger in our state,” said Chris Buchanan, Direct of Public Affairs and Government Relations. “Working with food banks, pantries, and shelters across the state to end hunger is a priority for Walmart, and we look forward to our continued work with this and other deserving organizations.”

With this $25,000 grant from Walmart, the DFC will be able to purchase six new refrigeration units as well as over 3,000 lbs. of fresh and healthy food items for the pantries and soup kitchens in Danbury. “We are so thankful to Walmart for this grant, as this will not only allow us to provide healthier food options for residents in need, but will allow us to increase our fresh food rescue efforts in Danbury, as our food programs will now have the necessary refrigeration to accept more of these types of donations going forward.” said Karen Mello, director of Financial Stability at UWWC and lead staff person for the DFC.

The DFC serves more than 8,600 households annually by providing over 230,000 meals to residents in need. If you or your organization is interested in helping the Danbury Food Collaborative, please contact United Way of Western Connecticut at 203-792-5330.

Danbury Food Collaborative Members:
Association of Religious Communities Danbury Farmer’s Market
Catholic Charities of Fairfield County Hispanic Center/Multicultural Center
City of Danbury Interfaith AIDS Ministry
Community Action Agency of Western CT Jericho Partnership, Inc.
Community Plates The Salvation Army, Danbury Corps.
Daily Bread: An Ecumenical Food Pantry United Way of Western Connecticut

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