In Their Own Words: Brass City Harvest
Brass City Harvest is a fresh food access organization, handling all of the farmer’s markets in Waterbury. We are the only eligible entity in Waterbury able to redeem more than $100,000 of farmers market nutrition program coupons for low-income households and seniors.
To comply with the city’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, Brass City Harvest had to restrict our sites to one farmer’s market on The Green, with modified hours and guidelines, such as: only our staff could touch the food and wear full PPE attire, consumers socially distanced, and everyone was required to wear a mask. Also, Brass City Harvests began delivering food to elderly and disabled people during the pandemic, which increased our expenses.
We used our grant to pay staff drivers for deliveries and for the PPE we needed. Without those funds, we wouldn’t have been able to serve the community. No one was prepared for this pandemic and operations are costly enough in good times.
The problem of full food security has always been a problem for Waterbury’s citizens and, with the current pandemic and economic fallout, poverty rates have increased as has the need for food. The pandemic has far-reaching effects beyond immediate medical issues, infiltrating all the neighborhoods in terms of who can have food, what can they eat, and how food provided. Brass City Harvest is just a small part of a very large food system.
The COVID-19 Response Fund made it possible for Brass City Harvest to continue to operate during the pandemic in accordance with CDC regulations specific to farmers markets and fresh food access points such as those we provide. Absent that funding, there would be thousands of people, low-income households, senior citizens, the disabled, and those who are immune compromised going hungry.