MERIDEN — Local churches are working with the city and other groups to distribute boxes of free food through a federal program designed to assist families coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
Distribution of fresh produce, meat and milk through the Farmers to Families program continues this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Joy Unlimited Ministries, 305 Center St. The food is available to anyone free of charge but reservations are required.
Masks are also required at all events.
The Farmers to Families Food Box program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and run by local contractors and community sponsors.
Another distribution event will be held Thursday on the Meriden Green from 3-7 p.m. near State and Mill streets sponsored by New Holy Word Foundation Ministries, Kingdom International, the city of Meriden and others. The event is first come, first served.
Around 400 boxes filled with fresh produce and meat as well as 250 gallon containers of milk were supplied to residents in a drive-up event by Joy Unlimited on Oct. 10, according to Pastor Julia Oparaocha.
Church staff, sister ministries and volunteers assisted in unloading a trailer into the trunks of vehicles as they drove up, she said. In addition to Saturday’s event, the church will hold another event on Oct. 31.
To reserve a box of food, call Oparaocha at 734-578-6956.
“You see people from single households to a family where the mom and dad, you know, one is working and one is not or both are not working and no income, “ Oparaocha said. “So, in this pandemic this is a Godsend.”
The program will be effective until the end of October, according to an announcement from the city of Meriden. More rounds of food distribution will be scheduled in November and December, according to the city.
New Holy Word Foundation Ministries along with Kingdom International will host the free food distribution event for families in need on the Green Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. along with several other groups and businesses.
About 1,200 boxes of food are expected to to be distributed, with each box weighing 25 pounds, Pastor Orindel Kidd said.
As with the Joy Unlimited event, residents can pull up and pop the trunk of their vehicle so volunteers can load the box of food. Residents without a vehicle can bring a cart or carriage.
“I’ve done it in New Haven and I’ve seen the impact it has on families,” said Kidd, of New Holy Word Ministries. “In this time that everybody, anybody is looking for an opportunity to get some help. That’s what this program is all about. “
City Community Services Worker Kathryn Longley said past food distributions have been successful.
“People are in need, and seeing people support each other and gather together to help each other, it’s an amazing thing,” Longley said.