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Housatonic Community College Helps Fill Shelves At Fairfield Food Pantry

Lynne Langella Photo Credit: Contributed
The jars of jelly and fruit collected at Housatonic Community College find a home on this shelf next to peanut butter at the Operation Hope food pantry. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Members of Housatonic Community College’s faculty and staff union teamed up with a local social services agency recently to bring food to hungry students during finals as well as to members of the community.

Thanks to an arrangement with Operation Hope, which runs a large food pantry, community kitchen and homeless shelter in Fairfield, members of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges (the 4Cs), made snack packs available to needy students during finals.

In return, 4Cs members donated needed foodstuffs to Operation Hope’s food bank.

“For years, HCC had donated goods to organizations supporting needy families in the Bridgeport area,” said Lynne Langella of Branford, 4Cs chapter co-chair at HCC. “With the growing realization that many college students here and across the nation are going hungry, we wanted to do something that would also to help these students during finals, the most important part of the academic year. Our arrangement with Operation Hope enabled us to do both.”

The arrangement put 20 snack packs per day in HCC’s centrally located Academic Support Center for hungry students to munch on during finals.

The snack packs, which were donated by Operation Hope, contained food items such as microwave pasta, granola bars, peanut butter, and tea. In return, 4Cs members collected and donated more than 100 jars of jelly and fruit to Operation Hope for its food pantry. The items were collected at the annual end-of-year lunch for 4Cs members.

“Hats off to 4Cs members at Housatonic for going out of their way to help the needy both on and off campus,” said 4Cs President Bryan Bonina of Bristol. “Their generosity is an example of our members’ commitment to the students and the communities they serve.”

“Over the years,” Bonina said, “the Housatonic chapter has sponsored food drives, coat drives, toy drives – you name it – to support organizations that help the underprivileged in the community. Historically, our members at Housatonic have looked for more ways and more effective ways to give back. The arrangement with Operation Hope was an example of this”

When campus hunger started to gain national publicity earlier this year, the 4Cs began thinking about ways to help meet community needs more effectively while meeting campus needs as well.

In spring, the union got its chance. Langella met with Operation Hope Executive Director and Stratford resident Carla Miklos, whose parents taught at HCC, and the agreement was struck. Operation Hope would send “snack packs” of items from its food pantry to HCC to feed needy students during finals. HCC, in turn, would collect jars of jelly and fruit for Operation Hope.

The 4Cs had its end-of-year luncheon coming up in May, so Langella and fellow 4Cs campus officers Sandra Barnes of Bridgeport and Bill Myerson of New Haven put out the word to union members that jars of fruit and fruit and jelly were needed. The end result was 100 jars of jelly and fruit.

“This effort by our members helped meet a pressing need on campus and in the community,” Langella said.

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