Food Haven is a directory and map of food pantries, soup kitchens, and grocery stores located in the New Haven, Connecticut area.
Loaves & Fishes 019 is a food pantry operating in the Church of St. Paul & St. James in Wooster Square. Services are available every Saturday morning from 9-10:30. Between 200 and 300 people are served each week, and nobody is turned away. The pantry only requires that patrons fill out a one-time, single-page form upon their first visit to the pantry. In addition to operating its pantry, Loaves & Fishes has a clothes closet with free donated clothes, and it has a partnership with Yale’s medical school to make basic medical care available to its patrons.
Our trip there led us to hearing compelling stories from patrons and volunteers. One patron-turned-volunteer gave us a tour of the facility and offered us the story of his relationship to the Loaves & Fishes community. The close community cultivated at Loaves & Fishes has helped to lift its patrons out of hard times and inspired a few of them to volunteer at the pantry. Now, he works at the pantry throughout the week where he can be a part of the community that helped him.
Loaves & Fishes has been in operation close to 35 years. Only twice have they been forced to close due to inclement conditions. The warmth and devotion of each volunteer and organizer is central to the success of this pantry. The facility is located in the basement of the church. The walls are covered in vibrant murals and the space is very clean. The diverse group of patrons comes from all over the city. While most of the guests walk from within a one-mile radius, some take the city bus to the pantry. In special cases, those in the direct vicinity who cannot make it to the church are delivered their respective bags of food each Saturday.
Food options can range broadly week-to-week, but kitchen staples such as bread, grains and canned goods are always available. They make a concerted effort to provide healthier options like vegetables, fruits and proteins. It takes approximately $1000 a week to feed an average of 250 patrons and their households. According to a patron-turned-employee, the food provided by the pantry can last its patrons the entire week. The majority of this funding comes from friends and family of the coordinators as well as local businesses.
While at Loaves & Fishes, we were also able to speak with a man who joined the Loaves & Fishes community over 20 years ago after immigrating from Jamaica. He uses the service and volunteers every week. Apart from clothing and food, Loaves & Fishes provides a community that has forever changed him. His rocky beginnings in the US tangled him up with the wrong crowd. After he was incarcerated, AA meetings and Saturday mornings at L & F helped him get back on his feet. The supportive nature of the space kept his improvement and well being on track. Now, after 20 years, he still volunteers every Saturday with some of his closest friends and mentors—and maybe a warm cup of coffee too.
Sunrise Café 042 is no ordinary soup kitchen. In fact, they don’t even serve soup. It’s a breakfast
establishment, with eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, and the like on the menu. And the menu,
presented on a white board in the middle of the Café, has choices of hot dishes for its patrons.
You don’t just get whatever they’re serving that day—you put in your order.
John Bradley, executive director of Liberty Community Services, a 30-year- old organization that’s charged itself to end homeless, says it’s a different sort of model. “We try to make it slightly different from a soup kitchen, where the volunteers are in the back.” Here, volunteers in aprons take orders and carry trays back and forth from the kitchen. “We try to make it more like a community café. People come and place their orders, and then get served at their tables by our volunteers.”
Sunrise Café came to be in March 2015 after some discussions between Bradley, Ellen Daniel, and other founders. They felt like there was a gap to fill. Many New Haven soup kitchens are only open on select days of the week, and most offer lunch or dinner. A hot breakfast, on the other hand, was harder to find.
“So we said, let’s try this, do it every day, be more consistent, and really develop the breakfast food options,” Bradley remembers.
But more happens at Sunrise Café than the provision of hot breakfasts. “We’re about creating a community here,” Bradley described. “People who may not seek out social services may still come in for the meal, but we can engage in other ways once they’re here.” This might include helping a couple find housing, or assisting someone in traveling across the country to see family members again—both of which Bradley has encountered.
Scott C. first started coming to the Café for the food, but now he’s a volunteer. “Just because I’m in a bad situation, and I’m homeless, doesn’t mean I can’t help out. I won’t be stagnant.”
While he works on housing and makes plans to rebuild his power washing business, the community at Sunrise Café keeps him in a good mindset. “Volunteering here humbles me, and also puts things in perspective.”
Sunrise Café is located in the ground floor of St. Paul and St. James Episcopal Church at the corner of Olive and Chapel Streets, near Wooster Square. Breakfast is served each weekday from 7:30 to 9:30am, and no one is turned away.
A portable version of the map is available for print here. Please see the document for instructions on printing and folding the map.
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Food pantries are marked in red, soup kitchens in blue, and grocery stores in yellow.
Each marker contains a 3-digit number, representing the location's alphanumeric position by type on both the digital and physical maps. Click on a marker to reveal the location name, address, and hours (for food pantries and soup kitchens).
To zoom or rotate the map, use the navigation controls in the bottom right corner.