Spotlight on Hartford Community Coalition's Volunteers
The Hartford Community Coalition’s Take a Bite Out of Hunger community meals program provides breakfast, lunch, and weekend snack packs for children and adults in Hartford during the summer. This year, the lunch site is White River School, Pine Street, in White River Junction. Bagged lunches are available for all community members, Monday-Friday, 11am-1pm, during school summer vacation. For more information about the Take a Bite out of Hunger food delivery program, please email Hartford Community Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am the driver for HCC’s Take a Bite out of Hunger program. Me and three others deliver food to the community. It’s been almost three years, and we deliver to about 50 families. The summer lunch program is important because it helps stretch out recipients’ money and also helps families with kids. During the week—onsite at White River School, or from My Crew and I—you can get a Weekend Bag that has food, snacks and drinks.
I learned about HCC’s Take a Bite Out of Hunger when my daughter was in elementary school. I took three kids to the summer lunch program site and had lunch. It made me think about others who may need lunch but who may not have transportation, and wouldn’t have access to lunch. The more I thought about the issue, a solution just seem to expand before my eyes: I’d drive for the program. I’d get some friends, my crew, to help.
Not only have we been able to deliver to kids, we’ve delivered to adults, also. There is bus transportation in town, but some people are unable to walk to the stop. We deliver to lots of elderly people. Transportation is not the only barrier preventing people from stopping by for lunch. Some people choose not to have lunch onsite because of severe anxiety and they are not comfortable around lots of people.
The people we’ve been delivering to have become like family. Whenever they see the van pulling up with my crew and I, they will wave or try to stop us to talk. Not only is food important to them, they also enjoy talking and sharing stories with us. It makes them happy to know somebody cares about their well-being.
We love getting to know everyone in our community. We have two adults with disabilities (or as we say with different abilities) who are part of my delivery crew. I love that we are able to enjoy the potential of people with disabilities and how we can integrate them into the work world. It gives them great satisfaction and can make a real difference in our community.
People seem to be pretty comfortable with us. They call us for any information we might have that will help them better their lives. We have good connections with Listen, the Senior Center, the Food Bank, Willing Hands, Stern’s Quality Produce, and others. I love that we can put a smile on so many faces.
I have lived in the Hartford area my whole life (I did take a little stop for about two years in Mississippi and Louisiana). The other three volunteers have lived in the Hartford area most of their lives.
We don’t always view the world as others do. We always look at what a person can do–not what they can’t do. We don’t judge anyone: everyone has a story. And our friends in this community have a shared a lot of stories with us.
Our Motto: do what you love and love what you do!
By Stacey Ballou & The Crew
Last summer, the HCC's Take a Bite out of Hunger program supplied more than 12,000 breakfasts and lunches to families and children in Hartford. We can use your help this year! Please join us by signing up to volunteer.
From left to right: Volunteers Terri, Syl, and Jersey