Quinnipiac and Haven’s Harvest announce new program aimed at reducing hunger in Hamden

Members of our Chartwells and university community hand food to members of Haven's Harvest.

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uinnipiac and Haven’s Harvest formally announced a new partnership today that will help reduce hunger and support food recovery in Hamden.

Quinnipiac Dining, which oversees food services at Quinnipiac, is now donating its excess food directly to Hamden residents through Haven’s Harvest, a non-profit organization that currently provides food to those facing food insecurity throughout Greater New Haven. Starting in January, Quinnipiac students will work with Haven’s Harvest to deliver the food throughout Hamden each weekday during the academic year.

“Quinnipiac is incredibly committed to supporting the communities we are proud to call home,” said Bethany Zemba, vice president and chief of staff at Quinnipiac. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Haven’s Harvest and the Town of Hamden to help reduce food insecurity, which impacts so many adults and children right here in Hamden, by putting any excess food to good use to help feed local families.”

In a 2019 study commissioned by United Way of Greater New Haven, researchers found that nearly 1-in-8 adults and 1-in-6 children in Hamden experience food insecurity. Other numbers were just as alarming. Nearly 42 percent of Hamden’s schoolchildren were eligible for free or reduced lunch during the 2016-17 academic year. 

“Helping those in need in our local community is important to us,” said Chuck Couture, resident district manager at Quinnipiac Dining. “Quinnipiac Dining is very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program to provide high-quality nutritious meals that make a difference in people's lives."

Lori Martin, founder and executive director of Haven’s Harvest, said she believes the collaboration with Quinnipiac will make a difference.

“We recognize the incredible waste of excess food and, yet at the same time, the dire need of food in our community, and around the country,” Martin said. “To address this conundrum, we create the necessary relationships with community partners who make it possible to ensure excess, nutritious food gets to those who need it.”

Anna Ciacciarella, a junior at Quinnipiac, is the food security intern at the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac, and was among those who worked with Quinnipiac Dining and Haven’s Harvest to expand student involvement in the food delivery process.

“This program allows Quinnipiac to make a true and measurable difference in the Hamden community by working to reduce food insecurity,” Ciacciarella said. “The program also promotes sustainability on our campuses as food is being sent elsewhere rather than being wasted.”

United Way of Greater New Haven provided a grant to help Haven’s Harvest expand its food rescue efforts into Hamden. The grant is part of the Hamden Food Security Task Force led by UWGNH, which aims to provide nutritious and affordable food to those in Hamden who need it.

"Ending hunger sounds like a lofty goal, and that's because it is,” said Jennifer Heath, president and CEO of UWGNH. “We won't solve this big problem overnight, but United Way is committed to fighting for children and families by connecting them to more affordable, healthy food and giving them a voice in crafting the solution.”

In addition, Haven’s Harvest is seeking support from Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in Connecticut to become more efficient, resilient and inclusive. Haven’s Harvest has launched a Sustainable CT matching grant campaign that will enable it to broaden and deepen its work in Hamden by hiring an intern, providing sites with food sharing supplies and offering food donors information about food donation. The campaign goal is $29,675, with Sustainable CT matching each donation dollar for dollar. 

Kathleen Schomaker, a member of the Hamden Legislative Council, is the town’s representative to Sustainable CT.

“Food security for Hamden’s people is vitally important to municipal sustainability,” Schomaker said. “We are pleased that the new grant from Sustainable CT is poised to help fund the expansion of the Haven’s Harvest program into Hamden. And the leadership of Quinnipiac University launching this effort is invaluable.”