A food bank in Torrington that serves hundreds of people is running out of money.
Friendly Hands is one of Torrington's largest food pantries and serves 800 people. About 300 of them are families.
Executive Director Maureen Hubert said Friendly Hands relied on a federal Social Services Block Grant. The nonprofit last received "about $17,000 in federal funding over a six-month period ending last March," according to DSS.
"At that time, these federal ‘case management’ dollars were re-bid statewide and consolidated through the CT Association for Community Action. Continued federal funding for Friendly Hands would need to be through a subcontract with the community action association. Friendly Hands staff were aware of the changes, but we’re not sure if they pursued further case management funding in this way," DSS said in a statement on Wednesday.
"They stopped the grant to everybody," Hubert said.
Hubert said she has called on state and federal lawmakers in search of new funding.
"There's nothing out there," Hubert said.
There have been small fundraisers held in recent months, but nothing that can keep the lights on despite having a staff of two and more than a dozen volunteers.
“There's a lot of children involved in this. It's not just adults too lazy to work or whatever,” Hubert said. “In my lifetime, I never want a child to go to bed hungry, ever."
If these struggles persist, Hubert said she'll forgo her salary and run the food bank with volunteers. But is hoping for more community help.
"If we have to run it with volunteers, we will I will not take a salary," Hubert said.
"I don't like to rely on anybody," Kelly Graham, who was volunteer at Friendly Hands, said. "I wasn't brought up to rely on anybody."
Food donations were still pouring in to Friendly Hands on Wednesday and the volunteers were prepared care packages for the Thanksgiving holiday. But, there isn't enough money for the food bank to keep running.
"There's going to be a lot of people that," Graham said. "There's not going to be any place to go."
If you wish to help, please call Friendly Hands at 860-482-3338.
Torrington's mayor said the city's food kitchen was also struggling with the same problem, a lack of money. She's trying to help find a way to sustain these vital nonprofits long-term, but admits with the state's bleak financial picture, it's a massive challenge.
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