During the spring 2012 semester, students on the Center for Community Engagement's (CCE) Food Justice Committee, worked to establish a mobile food pantry through the Connecticut Food Bank (CFB) in Willimantic. The committee was formed in fall 2011 to address issues of food insecurity, poverty and education in the Willimantic community.
The committee's goals include increasing donations of fresh and healthy food to local agencies; educating the community on how to prepare and cook healthy food; and developing a weekly after school program on nutrition and gardening. Eastern student Becky Rushford contacted the Connecticut Food Bank (CFB) and asked for mobile food trucks to come to Willimantic to deliver fresh food to low-income families in the area.
In collaboration with the CFB, committee members also participated in two gleanings at a local apple orchard. Gleanings are defined as picking through a farmer's leftover crop to salvage food for other uses. Members picked 500 lbs. of apples that would have otherwise rotted, and donated the apples to Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and the Covenant Soup Kitchen.