The Vanilla Bean of Pomfret recently held the 28th Annual Special Benefit Concert for the Northeast CT Emergency Food Pantries of Access coordinated by Howie Bursen, the “Red Hot Banjo Wizard”, who raised over $1,600. The donation comes at a critical time as changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formally known as food stamps) is slated to take effect on April 1, 2020, tightening work hour requirements for the federal food stamp program that could eliminate as many as 45% of Connecticut’s food stamp recipients. Access serves 28 towns in Windham and Tolland counties and is expecting an influx of emergency food pantry customers in the coming months.
Access currently operates two food pantries, one in Willimantic and one in Danielson and has a mobile food van deliver food weekly to low-income communities that have limited options for accessing affordable healthy food locally. Kim Brod-Houle, the Access Food Bank Coordinator, said the changes to the SNAP benefits will likely force more food-insecure families to rely on food banks. "Anytime folks lose their benefits, we see an increase in the use of our direct-to-client services at the food bank and we are thankful for events such as Howie Bursen’s Concert to help offset any added costs," she said. Last year 3,328 adults and 1,198 children received supplemental food from Access equivalent to 54,312 meals and 3,078 of the customers received their meals from the Access mobile food pantry.
The Access Community Action Agency is designated by the federal and state government as the anti-poverty agency in northeast Connecticut. Access provides food, affordable housing, job readiness services, and other pathways to economic self-reliance for vulnerable limited-income families and individuals throughout the region. For more information about the services Access provides, visit us on the web at www.accessagency.org; or call (860) 450-7400 in the Willimantic area or (860) 412-1600 In the Danielson area.