BRISTOL – Farmers to Families Food Distribution in Bristol has given out over a million pounds of food to families in need during the course of the pandemic.
President of the United Way of West Central Connecticut Donna Osuch addressed the city council after the presentation of a video featuring volunteers and officials assisting with food box distribution Tuesday night as part of a partnership between the city, United Way and FoodShare.
“The reason we wanted to honor the city of Bristol with the Collaborative Excellence Award is because we could not have done this without the help of the city,” Osuch said. “A few days before June 30 last year, I reached out to the mayor and said we have this opportunity to bring in produce boxes for our community but we need equipment that we don’t have. We needed (the public works department). We needed stuff we didn’t have; a big plot of land.”
Osuch said the United Way thought the first food box distribution would be a “one and done event” but it turned into several more with help.
“I think you all grew to love it,” Osuch said. “This Thursday will be our 22nd event. At the end of August that will be 24. We believe that will be it, but we’re not sure. The data is astounding in my opinion.”
As of Thursday, the program distributed 30,505 boxes, many of those produce. More than half of those have dairy and meat products as well. Some boxes weigh 40 pounds and the lighter ones are 20 to 25 pounds. Osuch said the efforts had distributed over 1,027,900 pounds of food and saved residents over $1 million by her estimates. She noted there had been over 1,000 community volunteer hours involved with the project in Bristol and not including CERT team hours.
Osuch thanked city officials and departments for their endeavors.
“Thank you for spearheading this. I think this is definitely a testament to the resiliency and partnerships we have,” Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said.
The next food box distribution will be Aug. 5 and 16 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bristol Public Works Garage on Vincent P. Kelly Street.