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Stories of Community and Cooperation in Fighting Hunger


Unity in Service: Midwest Food Bank and Gemma E. Moran United Way

In the heart of New London County, the Gemma E. Moran United Way / Labor Food Center (Food Center), operated by the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, stands as a testament to the power of community and collaboration. Beginning with $5,000 grant funding from United Way of Southeastern Connecticut during a local workers' strike in 1988, the Food Center has grown from serving five programs to supporting 72 nonprofit food programs.

The Food Center now has a 20,000-foot warehouse, two refrigerated trucks, and a team of dedicated staff and volunteers. Annually, they distribute the equivalent of 1.8 million meals and serve over 22,000 individuals each month, becoming a critical hub for food.

Unique to our partnerships, the Food Center serves as a food bank to other nonprofit agencies. This model ensures that food aid reaches a broad network of those in need right where they are. This expansive reach is supported by diverse food sources, including local growers, community donations, and food drives. However, a pivotal 26% of the food distributed by the Food Center is supplied by Midwest Food Bank. This highlights our role not just as a supplier but as a partner in their mission. Our collaboration ensures programs have access to Midwest Food Bank's resources without having to travel to Manchester.

Dina Sears-Graves, President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, shares her perspective on our joint efforts: "This is a great partnership. We are both committed to alleviating food insecurity, and we need to work together to ensure that happens. Midwest Food Bank is a tremendous resource that, together with our team, removes barriers so that food programs in our region have access."

Jan Young, Executive Director at Midwest Food Bank, adds, "Our alliance with the Food Center extends our reach and strengthens our ability to serve communities efficiently. Together, we're not just distributing food; we're nourishing communities and empowering local programs to meet the needs of those they serve directly."

Through this collaboration, Midwest Food Bank and the Gemma E. Moran United Way / Labor Food Center are making a substantial impact on food insecurity, demonstrating the effectiveness of strategic partnerships in the fight against hunger. 


Midwest Food Bank and KSU CARE Services Nourish Student Success

At 395 Cobb Ave NW in Kennesaw, Georgia, KSU CARE Services is integral to Kennesaw State University's (KSU) commitment to student welfare. Specializing in addressing the immediate needs of students, the agency offers a variety of support through its food pantry, case management services, and emergency assistance program. Over the past year, more than 1,300 students have benefited from these resources, illustrating the significant role CARE Services plays within the KSU community.

The food pantry at CARE Services has transformed its operations, largely due to its partnership with Midwest Food Bank. This collaboration has enabled the pantry to expand its offerings to include fresh produce and protein—previously difficult items to provide. The addition of these nutritious options has been critical in meeting the growing demands of the student body.

"We now can provide much-needed fresh and nutritional food options at KSU," says Jacki Goldberg. "Our partnership with Midwest Food Bank has been pivotal in achieving this."

One notable success story involves a KSU alum who progressed from homelessness to earning a doctorate and leading childhood cancer research. Initially sleeping in his car and utilizing campus facilities for basic needs, he accessed housing and food through CARE Services. His journey highlights the profound impact of the support provided by KSU CARE Services and its partners. "When I walk through your CARE Center, I see that the university values individuals who may not be as fortunate, but they don't want to let them go hungry," he shared.

"By partnering with organizations like KSU CARE Services, we're able to extend our reach and impact directly within the student community," says Pat Burke, Execustive Director of Midwest Food Bank Georgia. "No student should face the burden of hunger while pursuing their education."

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