Hands On Hartford

Gratitude for Unprecedented Outpouring of Community Support

February 2, 2021

In the last three days, dozens and dozens of people in the Hartford community and in fact, from across the world, have made donations to support Hands On Hartford’s work in response to and in solidarity with our decision to reject a recent food donation.  On Monday, January 25, two people identifying themselves as members of Proud Boys Connecticut attempted to make a donation of food to Hands On Hartford’s MANNA Community Pantry. (The Proud Boys have been described by an article published by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate and anti-government street-fighting group.) Our staff became aware of the donation in the normal course of processing, and let them know that the agency would not accept the donation due to agency gift acceptance policies.

Through the publication of a story in Connecticut’s Journal Inquirer and the subsequent sharing of that story on social media, word has spread about the rejection of this donation and people have shown their support for the decision by making donations to the agency.  “We at Hands On Hartford are deeply grateful to the community for this widespread support, and we also appreciate the thoughtful dialogue that is evolving around donations made by groups like these,” said Executive Director, Barbara A. Shaw.

For over 50 years, Hands On Hartford has served the Hartford community with food, housing assistance and health support.  We operate a community meals program that served over 38,000 meals in 2020, we distribute 25,000 pounds of groceries each month through the food pantry, and provide 15,000 weekend meals each year to children.  We also provide homelessness prevention, homeless outreach as well as supportive housing assistance to hundreds of individuals and families each month. “We treasure the diversity of our community and our doors are open to everyone needing assistance. We are committed to providing a welcoming, peaceful environment where all are treated with dignity and respect,” said Shaw.  “We are truly honored to be a part of this amazing community who show such strong support of our core values and their compassion and generosity to our neighbors.”