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Donations For Newtown Lions Stuff-A-Truck Food Drive Help Fight Hunger



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Residents donated pre-bagged groceries to help fight hunger for the Newtown Lions Second Annual Stuff-A-Truck Food Drive held on Saturday, April 6. The event was held at Stop & Shop in Sand Hill Plaza with cooperation from the US Army 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.

Lions and Leos had set up stands on both ends of the store encouraging shoppers to make a donation to help combat hunger and food insecurity.

At each stand were various pre-sorted grocery bags filled with items such as mac and cheese, pasta, and hearty soup that people could take to check-out and buy.

The US Army Reserves 411th Civil Affairs Battalion then packed all the purchased bags into boxes and unloaded the truck at the end of the day.

Donations from the event supported four Fairfield County food pantries: FAITH Food Pantry and Hospitality Hall Pantry in Newtown, alongside Daily Bread Food Pantry in Danbury and Bridgeport Rescue Mission in Bridgeport.

Lions member Arnie Berman, who is also on the Lions Hunger Committee, was thrilled to do his part to support the community.

“Food insecurity means that you have to decide between paying your utility bill or buying a bag of groceries,” Berman said. “And unfortunately challenges like that are common everywhere, including in the state of Connecticut where it’s estimated that nearly one out of ten people are food insecure.”

Fighting against hunger has always been one of the main initiatives of the Lions, alongside establishing early vision screening and raising awareness about diabetes, environmental issues, and childhood cancer.

To that end, the Lions hold events such as the Stuff-A-Truck food drive to support those in the community who need their help.

“The problem [with food insecurity] is so big that there are times where it’s tempting to just curse the darkness, but we’re trying to light a candle on the whole problem by holding events like this,” Berman said. “Seeing so many people show up in force today has just been really incredible.”

For more information on the Lions and their future endeavors, visit newtownlions.org.

Reporter Jenna Visca can be reached at jenna@thebee.com.

Newtown Community Center Director and Newtown Lions Club member Matt Ariniello (second from left) served as a “transporter,” moving donations that were made at the exit of Stop & Shop to the army truck that was parked in the lot. With Ariniello are Sergeant First Class Erinn Goldey (left), Sergeant Javier Gonzalez-Altieria (in the truck), Sergeant Raul Sotero and Staff Sergeant Angel Vargas from the United States Army 411th Civil Affairs Battalion. —Bee Photo, Glass
NHS Leo Luke Kellerman (left) worked alongside honorary Lion John Collins and Lions Hunger Committee members Arnie Berman and Gary Peters at one of the stands, encouraging shoppers to donate groceries to help combat hunger and food insecurity. Pre-bragged groceries were sorted into a $10 family lunch bag or a $20 family dinner bag.
National Honor Society members Kaliah Ames (left), Isabel Nesheiwat, Sofi Lapierre, Kaila Sullivan, and Oliver Clancy worked at the other stand on the opposite side of the store to educate customers on food insecurity and encourage them to make a donation. —Bee Photos, Visca
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