In order to further assist the needy in the Bridgeport area, Alliance (then ABCD) in collaboration with Gala Foods and SNAPBACK!™ handed out a hundred grocery bags for free at the John Street underpass. Residents were pleasantly surprised and local leaders such as Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, State Senator Dennis Bradley and Senator Blumenthal showed up to support the cause. News 12 Connecticut’s Frank Recchia was also present to interview recipients of the giveaway.
In addition to serving those in need within the Bridgeport community, the aid was also given in response to new proposed rules by the Administration to the SNAP benefits program which would see cuts in funding. The new rules would see a total of about 400 ABCD clients affected if finalized in March and as many as 70,000 people affected statewide. Regardless of the issue, Alliance is here to assist the community in dire circumstances such as these.
Among the recipients were Harry Johnson and Christopher Morse of Bridgeport. Morse stated, “This is great for the people who don’t have it, it helps out a lot” in reference to the free groceries. Johnson added, “The people need it, especially for those who have nothing, or whose food got cut off. It’s helpful for those who are homeless. It helps to provide a meal.”
Event partner Alex Pena of Gala Foods expressed his gratitude for the community and reasoning behind why helping others is so important. “This community has been such a support to our company that this is our way of giving back. Partnering in this effort is fulfilling,” said Pena. Gala Foods, formerly known as Compare Foods, has been a neighborhoods and community partner for decades.Recognizing the potential severity of such drastic changes in policy, private organizer Joe Kaliko of SNAPBACK!™ chimed in with his insight by stating, “I’m afraid that people who are adversely affected will have to make tough choices between paying for medical costs, food or shelter. We will try to blunt the effect of the cuts.” Joe Kaliko’s appropriately named SNAPBACK!™ program is facilitated by the 501©(3) charity Ride for Kids with majority funding by the Robert Morris Family Foundation.