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Norwich, New London weekly drive-thru food distributions extended through May

Weekly food distributions in Norwich and New London by the Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare have been extended through May.

The New London walk-up distribution at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church, 10 Huntington St., will run Fridays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. through May.

The Norwich drive-thru distribution at the former Foxwoods employee parking lot, 28 Stonington Road-Route 2, will run from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays through May 24. No distribution will be held on Memorial Day, May 31.

Additional food distribution events will be held at the Rose City Senior Center, 8 Mahan Drive, Norwich, on the fourth Wednesdays of April, May and June in memory of the late Norwich Community Development Corp. President Jason Vincent.

The weekly distributions in Norwich and New London, sponsored by the Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare, have been running since January, serving several hundred recipients per week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At the Norwich site on some weeks, the 30 to 40 volunteers place individual items — frozen meat, milk, canned and boxed goods, fresh vegetables and fruit — into open trunks or back seats. Other days, the group receives boxed food through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families food program.

Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom said organizers have been told the USDA food boxes will continue to be delivered for the May distributions.

Nystrom also confirmed with Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler that the parking lot will remain available for the distribution. The lot has proven ideal, as it allows cars to line up along the perimeter of the 38-acre property and receive the food near the exit onto Stonington Road-Route 2, avoiding a traffic backup on the busy road.

In addition to the Monday events, Norwich officials have partnered with the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut in fundraisers to hold food distributions in memory of Vincent, who died Dec. 30 by suicide.

Three new drive-thru mobile distributions will be held from 4 p.m. to about 5:30 p.m. or until supplies run out, on April 28, May 26 and June 23 at the Rose City Senior Center.

To donate to the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut for future food distribution events, text GEMMA to 41444 on a smartphone, which will bring up a donation page, and the donor may choose to write in that the donation is in Jason Vincent’s memory.

For more information about the Norwich food distributions, contact the mayor’s office at (860) 823-3743.

c.bessette@theday.com

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