Food Insecurity Crisis & Dry Bar Grand Opening

May 17, 2024

Higher prices at the grocery store are more than just a headache. 90,000 more people in Connecticut are food insecure since 2022. I'll break down some of the staggering statistics and how lawmakers are trying to address this problem.

I joined the celebration as a first-of-its-kind business opened its doors in downtown Willimantic. Keep scrolling to learn more about the state's first dry bar and how the business hopes to bring the community together.

And, I have an update on the budget referendum. Please read below to find out if it passed.

Here are the sections in today's email:

  • Food Insecurity Crisis Getting Worse
  • First Dry Bar in Connecticut
  • Budget Referendum Passes
 Food Insecurity Crisis Getting Worse
There is a sudden spike in hunger and food insecurity in Connecticut and around the country. Higher prices on food are a major financial strain for many individuals and families in Windham.

According to Feeding America, 468,150 people in Connecticut are food insecure, which is 90,000 more people since the last study in 2022. The most alarming data shows there is a 34% spike in the number of children who are food insecure.

Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” shows a disturbing trend in Connecticut:

  • 1 in 8 residents is food insecure, compared to 1 in 10 last year
  • 1 in 6 children is food insecure
  • 1 in 4 Black persons is food insecure
  • 1 in 4 Hispanic persons is food insecure
  • 1 in 11 White non-Hispanic persons is food insecure
Read the Entire Report Here
The Connecticut General Assembly plans to raise House Bill 5011 once again next year, which would contribute more state funding for nutrition assistance. The measure would provide $10 million to Connecticut Foodshare for the Connecticut Nutrition Assistance Program (CT-NAP) and 15% of that would have gone to farmers in Connecticut for the food they grow. CT-NAP directly affects the well-being of countless individuals, families, and businesses in our state.
First Dry Bar in Connecticut
On Tuesday, we celebrated the grand opening of the first sober bar in the state right here in downtown Willimantic! Reframe: A Dry Spot promises to support sobriety while allowing patrons to foster new connections with fun themed events such as book clubs and art nights.
The owner, Frances McGrath, wants to a build a stronger community while offering a variety of mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. The bar on 24 North Street is open weekday evenings, most of Saturday, and there are plans to expand hours when it gets warmer outside.
Congratulations to Frances and Reframe: A Dry Spot for your ingenuity, and we all wish you the best of luck! I think we can all say cheers to that!
Check Out the Fox 61 Story on Our Dry Bar!
Budget Referendum Passes
Windham passed its $73 million dollar budget for fiscal year 2024-25. Windham Town Manager Jim Rivers joined my radio show to explain the budget calls for a small tax increase.

Click on the video below to listen to that episode of "Let's Talk About It."

Windham Town Manager digs deeper into Windham's budget.