The following is a press release from the United Way of Milford.
The United Way of Milford and Westfield Mall are teaming up to replenish the local food banks.
On Saturday April 5, 2014, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the United Way of Milford will have a donation center set up in the Mall, at the entrance to Target. Staff will be on hand from the Milford Food Bank and the John Rigely Food Pantry to collect food and discuss the plight of the hungry in the Milford community.
We are also pleased to announce that the Boy Scouts of America, CT Yankee Council, will be assisting in the Food Drive as well. The scouts will be mobilized before the event to promote the Food Drive, will be on site during the actual event to transport the donated food and will work with the food banks to properly store and shelve the food that is collected.
"This event is a terrific example," said Gary Johnson, President/CEO of the United Way of Milford, "Of how local organizations, both for-profit corporations like Westfield and not-for-profit organizations like the United Way of Milford, the Milford Food Bank, the John Rigely Food Pantry and the Boy Scouts can work together to help our neighbors who are struggling to afford basic life necessities, such as food."
Last year the United Way of Milford published a needs assessment survey of this community and found that emergency food-related requests were in great demand in our community. The United Way 2-1-1 help line receives over 400 calls a year for food pantry requests from Milford residents.
Janice Jackson, Executive Director of the Milford Senior Center (which operates the Milford Food Bank) said that "Recent economic indicators in the Milford area point to an increasing number of households that are struggling to provide basic needs. Our Food Bank assists Milford residents of all ages to access food when their personal budgets are exhausted.”
Dan Kiley, General Manager of Westfield Mall Milford said “Westfield has always aligned itself with organizations that benefit and support community endeavors and as part of our ongoing commitment to the community our partnership with the United Way of Milford and their support of the food banks in our community is a good example of that.” As a Board member of the United Way of Milford, Dan understands the needs of the community and worked with his staff to develop the idea of the Food Drive.
The ripple effect of housing costs, challenges to find good paying jobs in the area and trying to afford basic needs like food and utilities can often force individuals and families in the area to make tough decisions.
According to Joan Wolf, who runs the John Rigely Food Pantry from St. Mary Church on Gulf Street, "This winter has been so brutally cold that we are finding more and more people coming to us for food. Many of them are asking for assistance for the first time in their lives. The major problem we see is that people simply cannot find jobs. The housing situation is also a huge problem - Milford rentals are very expensive and just paying the rent leaves people with less money for other necessities such as food.”
The Food Drive will be collecting non-perishable food, as well as personal care items and paper goods. Local food banks are especially in need of single serve, ready-to-heat meals, juice, cereal, pasta and sauce, soups and laundry detergent. Monetary donations will also be accepted or can be sent directly to the United Way of Milford, 20 Evergreen Avenue, Milford, CT 06460. Checks should be marked “food drive” and payable to United Way of Milford.
“For over 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America has always responded to filling the needs of the community through cheerful service and dedication. We are proud of the work that our volunteers and Scouts do to help lessen hunger in our communities,” says Charles L. Flowers, Scout Executive of the Connecticut Yankee Council. The Connecticut Yankee Council, Boy Scouts of America serves over 12,500 young people annually with high-quality Scouting programs through the dedication and commitment of over 4,200 volunteers in Fairfield and New Haven counties. Go to https://www.ctyankee.org for more information.
Gary Johnson noted, "This community is amazing in their generosity and unfailing support for their neighbors in need. In the 36 years that I have worked at the United Way of Milford, every day I have witnessed strangers reaching out to help others in our community. I am grateful to Westfield Mall for supporting the event and thank our community for once again supporting those in our city who are in need."
The United Way of Milford works to enhance the lives of Milford individuals and families through programs like the food drive and services performed by 22 partner agencies. These partner agencies include: American Red Cross, Beth-El Center, BHCare (Domestic Violence Services), Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of American CT Yankee Council, Boys & Girls Club, Bridges … A Community Support System, Catholic Charities, Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Good Shepherd Child Development Center, The Kennedy Center, Kids Count of Milford, Literacy Center of Milford, Milford’s Promise, Milford Senior Center, New Haven Legal Assistance, Rape Crisis Center of Milford, Salvation Army, Visiting Nurse Association, Woodruff YMCA, Young Parent Program of Milford and United Way 2-1-1.
As one of Connecticut's largest shopping centers and New Haven County's only regional shopping center, Westfield Connecticut Post offers the area's best mix of everyday retail, dining and entertainment choices. Westfield Connecticut Post features Macy's, Target, JCPenney, Sears, Dick's Sporting Goods, Cinemark Connecticut Post 14 Cinema + IMAX along with more than 130 specialty stores and restaurants. The center is located off I-95 and Route 1 (Boston Post Road) in Milford, CT. For information call 203-878-6837 or visit www.westfield.com/connecticutpost.
- The Milford Food Bank is located in the Milford Senior Center, 6 Jepson Drive, Milford, CT 06460. Milford residents under 55 should call the Milford Human Services Department (203) 783-3253 to access the Food Bank. Seniors over 55 years young can contact Food Bank Manager Al Salamanca at (203) 877-5131 x 2126 to make an appointment.
- The John Rigely Food Pantry is located at St. Mary Church, 70 Gulf Street, Milford, CT 06460. Milford residents may access the church web site to obtain information about making an appointment. www.saintmarychurchmilford.org/content/publish/food_pantry.shtml
- CT Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America is located at 60 Wellington Road, Milford, CT 06461. Contact for food drive items is Cynthia Pepe (203) 876-6868.