Summer is the time when hungry families are most in need of food assistance. Kids are home from school and food donations are at their lowest.
Standing at the corner of Dixwell and Argyle in the Newhallville section of New Haven, there’s a line of people around the block in front of the Believe In Me Empowerment Corporation. They’re waiting for an emergency food bank to open.
"Basically this program helps us, me and my mother, when we don’t have food at the end of the month. It helps us to get something in the pantry while our food stamps come."
Georgina Gonzalez is a mother of four who worked for years as an administrative assistant and is currently unemployed.
"...and I have a college degree. But its very hard."
She’s standing beside Michael Jones and his seven-year old daughter.
"I’m unemployed. I’m a single father. Now, it’s the end of the month, we run outta food. We get some food stamps. We come to the Food Bank and do what we have to do."
Much of the food here comes from the Connecticut Food Bank, which distributes to about 600 member programs in the state.
CEO Nancy Carrington says summer presents special challenges.
"Children are home from school for the summer creating an extra stress on the family budget to feed them. Usually its about 200 extra meals over the summertime. Another problem that Connecticut Food Bank and other food banks are experiencing is that in the summer donations tend to slow down."
She describes the situation right now as acute.
Back in Newhallville, Wilson Rodriguez of Believe in Me says doors to the food bank are about to open.
"We do it from 5 to 7, and by the time 7:00 comes we serve at least 80 – 100 persons maybe more. Plus during the week people come with emergency bags. We serve them as well."
Believe In Me is a small social service agency that serves New Haven residents, but people come to the food bank from as far away as Bridgeport.