FCC News Desk
St. Vincent De Paul Place, Norwich, will receive $25,000 in relief aid for its food pantry through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Executive Director Jillian Corbin said the number of households that signed up with the food pantry for the first time amid the pandemic more than doubled compared to the same period last year.
In May, St. Vincent De Paul Place saw a 28.5 percent increase in the number of meals served over the previous year. The food pantry served 14 percent more households, a total of 1,543, than it did in May 2019.
Coronavirus restrictions led to a program redesign that incorporated a “grab and go” component, curbside service and delivery options.
Corbin said visiting the Cliff Street pantry has been especially difficult during the pandemic for clients who feared leaving their homes because of their age or chronic health conditions, or those with children who rely on public transportation.
She credited support from donors, including the $25,000 in federal coronavirus aid, for helping to keep food on the shelves as the organization recovers from inconsistent supplies earlier in the pandemic.
“In March, for example, we were not able to buy any food in bulk. It was the community members who went to the store to purchase items for us, sometimes only six at a time, as supplies were limited,” she said.
The availability of food at local stores and suppliers has since increased, Corbin said.
“The demand for charitable food assistance is expected to remain at elevated levels for the foreseeable future,” she said.