Danbury Daily Bread Food Pantry Weathering Coronavirus Storm

The worst of the pandemic is behind Daily Bread, or so management hopes.

But food, volunteers and money are still desperately needed.

By Rich Kirby, Patch Staff

Sep 11, 2020 2:43 pm ET|Updated Sep 11, 2020 4:36 pm ET

DANBURY, CT — Happily, the demand for food at Daily Bread has slowed down since the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Then, the local pantry was serving around 260 families per twice-weekly distribution. That was 3-4 times the volume of a typical 2019 day.

Not-so-happily, donations have been trending downward of late as well, but the pantry is still serving around 150-180 families per distribution, according to the president of the pantry's Board, Debbie Landzberg.

Organizations like Daily Bread are vital to the often forgotten population who are food insecure, and they have become even more crucial as the coronavirus continues to up-end society. Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief organization, says the virus-related economic crises could push the number of food insecure Americans to 54 million by year's end. That's 17 million more Americans than who were food insecure before the pandemic.

To meet those needs in Danbury, Landzberg said the pantry is looking for food, people and money. 

 

Any kind of non-perishable food makes a welcome donation to the pantry, but needed most urgently are peanut butter, black beans, cereal, tuna fish, and canned corn. These are the popular items the pantry tends to run low on. Soup, canned tomato sauce, rice, pasta, canned fruit, canned vegetables (specifically peas and green beans) also go quick.

"We have been so lucky that people have stepped up, at a time when they really were putting themselves at risk," Landzberg spoke about her volunteer force, but that was in the spring and summer. The pantry's ranks have been thinned by the reopening of colleges, and they are looking to build up their volunteer base. Workers are needed on Mondays and Fridays to handle the influx of clients on-site for the twice-weekly food distributions.

Despite being powered by donations and volunteer workers, Daily Bread still has to write quite a few checks. In the srping, the pantry was buying around 5,000 pounds of food each week. Currently, the demand is for less than half of that, but it's still a sizable chunk of change. Daily Bread is a member of the Connecticut Food Bank, which amplifies its buying power many-fold, so donations go a very long way. You can make yours online at the organization's website.

Landzberg wants to ensure potential clients and volunteers that the Daily Pantry experience is a safe one. "We do have measures in place, we are all wearing masks, all the clients are spaced and social distanced," she said.

Food insecurity is often thought of as a "poor people's problem," but not all people living in poverty are food insecure, and not all food-insecure people live in poverty. Food insecurity is a complex issue sandwiched in with other systemic challenges, including poverty, low wages, affordable housing shortages, chronic and acute health problems, high medical costs and social isolation. "This is a fundamental need," Landzberg said. "This lack of food comes before anything else. People need to be fed."

Some of the food pantries and other services available in towns near Danbury are listed below, or inquire at your local town hall or place of religious worship.

Immanuel Lutheran Church Summer Youth Program Fills Daily Bread Food Pantry's Shelves

July 3, 2019

A big thank you to Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Their summer youth program families have helped to address a continuing need.   Summertime can be a challenging time for our Pantry as donations come in less frequently.  We are grateful to all of you for keeping our needy neighbors in your hearts and minds! 

 

St. Peter School of Danbury

Helps Local Families in Need 

February 20, 2019

Students, faculty and staff at St. Peter School spent weeks collecting non-perishable food items for Daily Bread Food Pantry.  The school's carefully orchestrated  drive was a great success, bringing in hundreds of pounds of such as soup, beans, cereal, canned vegetables, jelly, peanut butter, pasta and more.  The Pantry extends a huge thank you to St. Peter School for filling our shelves and helping Greater Danbury's neighbors in need!

A Huge Thank You to Daily Bread's 

Wonderful Thanksgiving Volunteers and Donors! 

November 19, 2018 

We distributed almost 20,000 pounds of food - including a variety of fresh produce, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cookies, pies and, of course, turkeys - to almost 500 families in need.   

 

Our volunteers handled their jobs cheerfully and energetically - picking up donations at a variety of businesses early in the morning, bagging produce, carrying heavy boxes, helping clients with their bags. We couldn't have done it without you!

And we cannot forget our generous donors without whom this impactful annual event would not have been possible.  We gave away more food than ever before.   Words cannot properly express our gratitude!

Entegris, Inc. of Danbury Reaches Out to the Community 

July 30, 2018

This locally-based company, a leader in the semi-conductor and high-tech industry, is now taking the lead in the world of social outreach as well.  Entegris' recent generous donations of food to our Pantry have made a big difference in the lives of many food insecure families.  Thank you to all of the caring folks who participated in these efforts.  We greatly value our partnership with you!

Jewish Federation Endowment of Western Connecticut Funds Daily Bread Food Pantry Perishable Item Purchases

February 1, 2018

The Jewish Federation Endowment of Western Connecticut awarded $5,000 to the Daily Bread to fund the year-long purchase of dairy and produce for its needy clients.  The Federation's award gives our agency the ability to fill our new double-door refrigeration unit and move closer to our goal of providing fresh, healthy food to the hungry families of Greater Danbury.  Some of the items that will be available more readily in 2018 include, eggs, margarine, cheese and somewhat fragile produce such as leafy green vegetables.  Our clients are so grateful for these new offerings.  We extend a big thank you to the Jewish Federation!

NBC, Telemundo and Stop and Shop Help Our Neighbors in Need

April 28, 2018

NBC 4 New York, Telemundo 47, and Stop & Shop Nutmeg Square in Danbury teamed up with Daily Bread Food Pantry as part of the "Feeding Our Families" food drive throughout the tri-state area to help end hunger.  We were thrilled to be a part of this important effort!  A big thank you to all of those involved including our dedicated volunteers and the many Stop and Shop patrons whose generosity helped us to restock our shelves with healthy food for our clients in need.

©2018 Daily Bread Food Pantry |  Danbury, CT