Connecticut Food Bank has more on its shelves than you’ve ever seen in one place, guaranteed. As fast as the food comes in, it’s on its way out … to approximately 650 local organizations that feed the hungry. Even so, its resources are never depleted. Pretty amazing, but not the best part. The 64 men and women who work for Connecticut Food Bank are driven by the knowledge that their efforts mean the difference between a nourishing meal or going without for more than 300,000 neighbors in need.
They’ve got vast volumes of fresh produce and dairy products, a walk-in freezer full of meats, and nonperishables stacked from floor to ceiling. Something else that’s not in short supply? It’s the level of enthusiasm for solving hunger. Stop and talk to anyone on staff or volunteering and their faces light up… they are on a mission and proud to serve.
Lenny Eaton wrangles enormous pallets of food on the loading dock, checking it into the warehouse. He’s been there 18 years. He knows the value of his work because he used to be a client.
Truck driver Pete Bellacicco has been behind the wheel for Connecticut Food Bank for 10 years and proclaims it the greatest job around. He, too, has perspective. He originally stopped by the warehouse to pick up food for his daughter and filled out a job application. The rest is history.
Then there’s the hardy band of volunteers that inspect and sort the frozen meat. Giant unwieldy hunks of it flow into an ice-cold room and it’s a volunteer’s job to sort and package meat for storage. One of the band, Dave Pettinicchi, wants everyone to know that people aren’t seeking food just around the holidays (the time of year the public tends to donate); hunger is a 24/7 business.
Let’s not forget the Director of Supply Chain Management, Derek Cable. He’s been on the job so long, he can tell what’s suitable for distribution and what must be disposed of with just a glance. His coworkers say that he can spot an unacceptable dent or expired food label at 50 paces. Now, that’s experience (not to mention 20/20 vision).
Doug Heberger, the Transportation Manager, coordinates packing the Mobile Pantry, which makes regular stops throughout the six counties served by Connecticut Food Bank. But that’s just part of his job. He seems to be everywhere in the warehouse because, according to his wrist-band tracker, he’s taken 18,000 steps—and it’s only noon.
Doug talks about the flexibility of Connecticut Food Bank, which can deliver food for agencies that are too far away or don’t have enough manpower to make the drive to Wallingford. Roadblocks like snow days or federal holidays don’t stop his team either; the schedule just changes. “We always keep the mission in mind. Hunger carries on, and so do we,” he says. That’s the spirit!
Thanks to Connecticut Food Bank’s Grants Coordinator Rebecca Hasko for the tour and introduction to a warehouse full of wonderful people. We’re proud to be one of their funders!