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Sen. Needleman: COVID-19 March 24, 2020 Update — Food Resources, Job Openings

From our State Senator, Norm Needleman.

(March 24, 2020) — While the COVID-19 outbreak is causing job losses, companies are also working to ramp-up hiring to help the public.

Job Openings

FedEx Ground is seeking to hire many people in its warehouses to assist shipping of life-saving medications and other important products. FedEx is hiring at several Connecticut locations.

CVS is also planning to fill 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary positions, including store associates, customer service professionals, home delivery drivers and distribution center employees. Virtual job fairs will be held and individuals can apply for open jobs at

Additional businesses hiring include Amazon hiring 800 workers in North Haven, Windsor and across Connecticut; Domino’s hiring 180 Connecticut workers to meet demand; Stop and Shop hiring at all locations; and Yale New Haven and Bristol Hospitals, hiring nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists. I will work to find other hiring opportunities in our communities and inform you of them.

New Executive Order

To meet expected demand as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, Governor Ned Lamont this week signed a new executive order that will suspend the requirements for licensing, certification and registration for emergency medical services, physical therapists, nurses and nurses aides, respiratory care practicioners, social workers and pharmacists, for the next sixty days. This is intended to allow people licensed, certified or registered in another state to provide temporary medical assistance within their profession if necessary in Connecticut. This will be key in the event additional medical workers are needed in the near future.

Food Resources Available in Our Area

Food Pantries

The Chester Food Pantry – pre-bagged food available for residents
Chester Town Hall
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday – 9 a.m. to noon
Call ahead: 860-526-0013 x213

The Deep River Food Pantry – pre-bagged food available for residents
56 High Street
Tuesday, 9 a.m.-noon; Thursday, 1-4 p.m.
Call ahead: 860-526-6033

The Colchester Food Bank – Offering pre-packaged food bags – call 860-537-7255 to arrange a pick up time through drive-ups. Currently not able to accept donations as Town Hall is closed to the public – encouraging donations of gift cards to local stores and general donations through a drop box outside Town Hall’s front doors at 127 Norwich Avenue, Colchester.

The East Haddam Food Bank will be open regular hours beginning March 24. It is open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:25 p.m. Donations can be made at the food bank at 488 Town Street in East Haddam from 8 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Donations can also be made at donation bins at Liberty Bank in Moodus and the East Haddam and Moodus post offices. More information is available at 860-891-8100.

The East Hampton Food Bank operates Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at 43 West High Street in East Hampton. Please call 860-365-5978 for more information.

The Haddam Emergency Food Bank supplies support to families for up to three weeks in a row, then monthly if a family is still struggling. Normal hours are Mondays by appointment only, Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Please call 860-345-4621 for more information. Haddam Social Services is located at 11 Jail Hill Road in Haddam.

The Portland Food Bank operates Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon in the basement of 7 Waverly Avenue in Portland. It provides non-perishable foods, toiletries and other items for families in need. Please call 860-342-6795 for more information.

Grab & Go Meal Service, and Grocery Assistance

Grab and Go lunches available at Chester, Deep River and Essex Elementary Schools weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Estuary Grab & Go Service: Estuary is offering grab and go lunches with pickup sites in Clinton, Old Lyme and Old Saybrook for anyone 60 or older. Reservations are required and volunteers will assist with paperwork for first-time attendees. Call 860-388-1611 by 11 a.m. the day before pickup, dialing zero to speak to staff members or leaving full name, phone number, pickup location and dates to pick up.

The drive-through service is available at the following locations:

Clinton’s Town Hall Annex, 48 East Main Street, Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11 a.m.; clients will receive two meals per reservation

Lymes’ Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; clients will pick up five meals per reservation

Old Saybrook’s Estuary Senior Center, 220 Main Street behind the 210 Plaza, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.. Clients will pick up two meals on Mondays and Wednesdays and one meal on Fridays. Donations are accepted, with a suggested donation of $3 per meal.

Essex Social Services – grocery gift cards available for residents
29 West Avenue, Essex
By appointment only
860-767-4340 x201

Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries
Remaining open, pre-bagged food available:

  • St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church, 222 McVeagh Road, Westbrook, Tuesdays 1-2:45 p.m.
  • First Church of Christ in Saybrook, 366 Main Street, Old Saybrook, Tuesdays, 3-5 p.m.
  • First Church of Christ Congregational, 55 Church Road, Clinton, Wednesdays 5:45-7:45 p.m.
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church, 400 Main Street, Niantic, Thursdays 5-6 p.m.
  • First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, Saturdays 9-11 a.m.

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