George Gershwin wrote it and Ella Fitzgerald made it famous, “Summertime and the living is easy,” a song that captures pretty well that state of mind we flirt with as the mercury rises around here. And summertime living should be easy especially here in Connecticut with the highest per capita income of all fifty united states as recently as the 2010 US Census.
But we all have neighbors who are facing hard times in the land of plenty and who struggle every day to make ends meet and provide just the bare necessities for their families and themselves.
We all know why food comes first when we’re listing basic needs like ‘food, shelter, and clothing’ and we try to help out the Connecticut Food Bank or our local food pantry with cash and other donations more often around the holiday season, for which everyone is grateful but (and it’s okay to be surprised by this), the highest demand for food is right now during the summer.
It’s been about a month since summer vacation started. Families with children need to provide about 100 extra meals during summer vacation for each child. That’s a lot of meals, and a lot more that are needed.
Here in Norwich, we have, through the Norwich Public Schools again this summer, a school meals program with a broad distribution network and reach (site lists are on the NPS website) for lunch just about every weekday. The meals are free to any child age 18 or younger and the children don’t have to be Norwich residents to benefit from the program.
NPS has the program well in hand but what I want to talk about is reloading and refilling the larder (the community food banks) for all the children and families who are in need now and will still be in need after ‘back to school’ really happens.
At this moment, the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center is looking for helping hands, preferably with fistfuls of dollars or canned and dry goods to fight against hunger and encourages all of us who can to hold our own a 12-hour food-a-thon. They even have a how-to on their website to walk us through it.
There’s a hit list of most needed items to include Ensure, macaroni and cheese, any and all pasta products, canned tuna, and soup. They also have a target date of next Thursday, July 27, to bring those donations (from seven in the morning to seven at night) to the Center at 374 Broad Street in New London. Hunger hurts. We should help. We can help. We must help.