Meeting the Needs of Our Neediest Compounds the Challenge of COV-19

Enfield Loaves and Fishes serves its guests outdoor since COV-15 regulations disallowed public dining indoors.

When Priscilla Brayson, director of Enfield Loaves and Fishes, hears the rallying call that we are all in the COV-19 health crisis together, her thoughts instantly turn to those who are least advantaged to face the health, economic, and social hurdles that lie ahead. Kathleen Souvigney, Executive Director of the Enfield Food Shelf, shares the same mindset, knowing that the poor and marginalized in our communities will be the hardest hit with health and economic challenges 

Both non-profit agencies have had to revamp the methods by which they serve the public. The Enfield Food Shelf, which works to assure no local family goes without groceries, has had to close the doors to its building on 96 Alden Avenue, but food assistance is still available. 

 “We’ve gone to a drive-thru, prepackaged model,” says Souvigney. “Bags of groceries are put on a table – outside.” Families, who have registered for the weekly food assistance program, can “grab and go” thanks to outdoor volunteers who are required to wear gloves as they distribute the bags. Enhanced sanitation procedures are also in place inside the building where the groceries are pre-packed.

The daily meals Enfield Loaves and Fishes traditionally serves the needy at 28 Prospect Street have been brought outdoors as well. Brayson says the nonprofit has been serving as many as 100 bagged lunches a day since mid-March.

“What we are trying to do is prepare them a hot meal – like beef stew,” said Brayson. “We realize how critical it is for us to be here.” Yet, she said the kitchen had lost three chefs as volunteers dwindle, due to stay-at-home directives. 

“We need to stick together, pick up donations,” she said – like the 400 containers Enfield Pizza donated for the new, “take-out” version of the meal service. She said 2300 containers had to be purchased from Costco recently to be able to pack up the portable meals.

“We need to keep our homeless healthy for our benefit too,” she said, referring to the reality that they do not have the option to stay home to keep from getting or spreading the virus,

Both agencies are in dire need of monetary donations. The Enfield Food Shelf accepts donations through Paypal on its website at  enfieldfoodshelf.org/donate. Checks can be sent to Enfield Loaves and Fishes at P.O. Box 544, Enfield, CT 06082.

Enfield Loaves and Fishes is still serving hot meals, but now they are to-go.

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