In Litchfield County, 10 percent of residents experience food insecurity from time to time, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Most are working, but struggling with low wages and balancing other basic need expenses, such as utilities, healthcare, and housing.Northwest Connecticut nonprofits work to fill the gaps for those struggling financially by providing warm meals and pantry staples. The Friendly Hands Food Bank serves 1,600 adults, children and elderly members of our communities with food bi-weekly, and provides Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas meals and holiday gifts annually.

The Food Bank is one of more than 20 food pantries, soup kitchens, and nutritional programs in the Northwest Corner working to ease the pain of hunger for vulnerable members of our communities.

“Those experiencing a financial crisis are often forced to buy cheap,low-quality food in order to stretch their budget,” said Kiersten Schiffer of Hands of Grace, of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, who recently assisted a woman whose young daughter was suffering from anemia as a result of eating mainly inexpensive canned and processed foods.

Hands of Grace assists individuals and families referred by social service agencies. The nonprofit provides emergency food to more than 2,000 Northwest Corner residents annually, almost half of whom are children. Hands of Grace also offers Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and holiday gifts.

Nonprofits providing basic needs in Litchfield County request support from the Northwest CT Community Foundation throughout the year for grants to restock food pantries, and replace ageing freezers and refrigerators that provide fresh fruits and vegetables to those struggling.

Additionally, each winter--through funds established by local donors-- the Northwest CT Community Foundation provides year-end critical needs grants to organizations helping Litchfield County’s most distressed residents—providing food, warm clothing, fuel assistance and shelter.

“NCCF is a generous provider of support to area residents, truly impacting and improving lives,” said Deirdre DiCara of FISH in Torrington, an organization that works to meet the most basic of human needs - food, shelter and hope.

Nonprofits providing for basic needs, including access to nutritious food, receive support through Community Foundation discretionary Funds, such as the NCCF Khurshed Bhumgara Fund, and Marion Wm. & Alice Edwards Fund.