Courtesy of Andy Hart, Hartford News

Fifty families received much needed groceries thanks to Hartford Public Library’s partnership with Foodshare, which launched last week.

The groceries were distributed at the Barbour Library. Distribution will take place at the branch twice a month, with the next one occurring on Thursday, February 25.

Over the next several food distributions, Barbour Library branch manager Irene Blean plans to build on what she’s already done. Local civic organizations, including Freshplace, which helps with food security planning, and the Chrysalis Center, which provides services for people seeking to transform their lives, were in attendance, signing people up for their offerings.

Courtesy of Andy Hart, Hartford News

Courtesy of Andy Hart, Hartford News

As cold as the first distribution day was, people were in good spirits, she said. “People were appreciative of being offered free food. A woman, who works in the Unity Plaza laundromat, planned her lunch break around the distribution,” Blean said. “A community leader said it was a great event.”

Blean’s thinking is both expansive and particular at once. On the one hand she invites organizations to participate that can have wide reaching impact. On the other, she’ll invite a group like CaptionCall, which provides no cost captioned telephones for the hard of hearing because she can think of a specific customer who would benefit from this service.

In addition, Blean arranged for the University of Connecticut to send two student diatectic interns to a distribution event in April and hopes to have a local community college on hand to talk about training certificate programs.

Courtesy of Andy Hart, Hartford News

Courtesy of Andy Hart, Hartford News

Blean understands acutely that the Barbour Library, and HPL as a whole, is a beacon in the community. Not only did HPL staff members distribute food, they passed along a bit of hope and some cameraderie. “Some of the men were glad to see a positive event taking place, despite the cold weather. A woman said that it was a chance for her to connect with others she knew,” Blean said.

By Steve Scarpa, manager of communications and public relations


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