Junior Achievement of Southwest New England employees decided to give back this year by volunteering for another organization—Freshplace, an innovative fresh food pantry in Hartford, developed by the Junior League of Hartford and several other community organizations. JA decided on donating canned goods and their time to Freshplace, whose goals are to address the root causes of hunger and increase food security and self-sufficiency of low-income households.
Freshplace, which opened up in 2010 and has shown promising results, works in a facility in Hartford’s Albany neighborhood, and provides at-risk families with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products in addition to pantry staples delivered daily. Clients are guided in making selections that accommodate their health, cultural, religious and familial needs. There are referral services available such as increasing access to food stamps, health and crisis intervention programs, public assistance, and educational services.
The Junior Achievement staff and board members organized a canned goods collection and donated several boxes of food to Freshplace. JA staff then volunteered over the course of multiple days and shifts and helped stock shelves with personal donations as well as the daily delivered goods from partners of Freshplace. The staff also assisted clients with their shopping process by helping to pick out groceries, poultry and other goods while encouraging healthy meal choices.
“This was a truly rewarding experience for our staff,” said Jeremy Race, JA President and CEO. “I believe it’s important for us to give back to the community that provides so much support to the JA family. There are many needs in the city of Hartford and JA is helping to address many of those needs by providing financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship training to more than 6,000 Hartford students each year (41,000 students statewide). However, there are many other local organizations that are doing amazing work in Hartford and we proud to support their efforts as well.”