Park Library manager Graciela Rivera (center) donating boxes of food to La Bodeguita, a local non-profit organization

Thanks to Cigna’s donation of 500 boxes of unperishable food, Hartford Public Library is able nourish the body as well as the mind.

The first big distribution of food took place this week. Park Library manager Graciela Rivera coordinated the donation of 150 boxes of prepackaged food to La Bodeguita de la Gente, which was delivered on Tuesday, October 13. It took two trips with a full pickup truck to bring the food to the organization’s storefront, located almost directly between the current and the future Park Libraries.

La Bodeguita de la Gente (“The Little Store of the People”) takes care of some of the most vulnerable people in Hartford – undocumented immigrants, many of whom come from broken homes or were the victims of domestic violence. The pandemic, coupled with a hostile federal government, made it so that almost impossible for these families to seek help.

“As a result of the pandemic, one of the issues that we became aware of was the exclusion of many immigrant families from government aid and programs such as WIC. Many of those families were fired from their jobs and didn’t qualify for unemployment. Other families got the virus but didn’t have access to affordable health care,” said founders Xiomy A. de la Cruz and Ingmar I. Riveros Torres in a letter to supporters.

Cigna’s food boxes – filled with staples like pasta, beans, oatmeal, and much more – helped address some issues of food insecurity.  “When we heard that Cigna had donated boxes of food and was looking for us to partner with different organizations to distribute the boxes, I knew (La Bodeguita) was perfect,” Rivera said.

The partnership with La Bodeguita is just one way HPL is getting the food to people who need it the most. “The need continues to grow,” Rivera said.

Irene Blean, manager of the Barbour Library, will be distributing over 100 boxes of food at a health literacy fair held on October 27 from noon to 3 pm. “I was so excited. Right away I asked, could I have 100 please?” Blean said.

Food boxes will also be distributed at the Arch Street entrance of the Downtown Library on Tuesday 10/20 and 10/27 from 2-4 pm and Thursday 10/22 and 10/29 10 am-12 pm.

Rivera, like many of HPL’s librarians, is a believer in partnership. By seeking out and working with trusted community organizations, both large ones like Cigna, and smaller ones like La Bodeguita, Hartford Public Library is in a position to amplify everyone’s work. Because of efforts like this, more people get help.

“Libraries are a place for everything,” Rivera said.

– By Steven Scarpa, Manager of Communications and Public Relations




Comments are closed.


Encore Search: