The Cox Communications James M. Cox Foundation has reached out to help Cheshire in a big way.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, the foundation has donated $50,000 to the Cheshire Food Pantry.
The pandemic has exacerbated hardships for many Cheshire residents, and the stress of fighting the deadly COVID-19 virus and surviving the economic downturn it caused has forced many families to turn to the Food Pantry for their daily groceries and essentials.
“We have seen an increase in need day after day from local families,” explained Food Pantry Executive Director Kerry Walsh. “When we learned Cox had donated the first amount of $25,000, we were so grateful. When I saw the second check a few weeks later, honestly, my jaw dropped.”
The Cox Foundation had originally set out to donate $25,000 to community feeding organizations all over Connecticut, including the Cheshire Food Pantry, Enfield Loaves, and the Wethersfield Food and Clothing Bank.
“We decided to give the second round of funding, which we understood was a bit unusual for us, because of the need we knew was in the communities we were in,” explained Jeff Lavery, Cox Foundation PR manager. “Peter (Talbot) informed us of the need that the local food bank was in, so we knew it would be going to the right place.”
Talbot, who also serves on the Cheshire Town Council, works full-time for Cox Communications as their Government Affairs Manager.
“I am the conduit on both sides. When there is stuff going on the Cox side, we are always communicating,” Talbot said. “The Cheshire Food Pantry always has such a tremendous need, but the cash donation really is helpful and allows them to target the funds for whatever they might need.”
Walsh and the rest of the Food Pantry team can now use the funds to provide even more items to Cheshire families in need and, she explained, expand some of the Pantry’s stock to include better offerings.
“We can now include cheese as a part of our dairy options, which we couldn’t before,” she explained. “That makes a difference for families with kids who need snacks for school, or with growing teenage boys who we know consume a lot of food.”
State Representative LIz Linehan’s (D-103) office announced the second wave of donation funds at the end of February, and wanted to recognize all that the Pantry had to offer the community.
“The Cheshire Community Food Pantry is a pillar of our close-knit community, and we are deeply grateful to receive this support from the James M. Cox Foundation, which has already done much to ensure our residents continue to receive the nutritional support they seek,” Linehan said.
“This donation comes at such an important time, the governor is looking to decrease money for the diaper bank and other important funds that many of my constituents utilize regularly,” she continued