Torrington Food Bank is hosting a ‘celebrity’ softball game to raise money and awareness for the local food bank

TORRINGTON— Friendly Hands Food Bank in Torrington has found a way to raise money to support himself, while also giving a nod to the upcoming November election.

The food bank, which serves customers in and around Torrington, is hosting a benefit softball game with the state’s Democrats and Republicans at 4 p.m. on September 7. The event, Homeruns 4 Hunger, aims to highlight food insecurity and raise funds for the food bank.

Governor Ned Lamont and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski are making an appearance at the game, which will be held at Fuessenich Park Torrington, according to Friendly Hands executive director Karen Thomas.

“One of our board members, Lisa Gosselin, said that since it’s an election year, maybe we could get the gubernatorial candidates to play a civil game, to show this civility and playing together,” Thomas said. “I said I loved the idea. We went to state Rep. Michelle Cook, who is also on our board, and asked if he could help us. She called Governor Lamont, and he was on board. Then Stefanowski came on board.

Democrats and Republicans who sign up to join opposing softball teams for fundraising choose their own teammates.

“What’s great is that we made it public and said if any coaches wanted to play they could join us,” Thomas said. “There will be a mix of Democrats and Republicans; you’ll see locals and others from all over the state.”

Among the players signed up for the Sept. 7 event are Goshen First Selectman Carusillo and Torrington Deputy Fire Chief David Tripp.

“We also wanted to feature Torrington, so I called Mayor Elinor Carbone, and she’s going to throw out the first pitch,” Thomas said. “We are having a great time putting this together. It’s a lot of work, but it will be a great fundraiser.

On September 7, the gates to Fuessenich Park open at 4 p.m. The event begins with family activities – a bouncy house, food trucks, giveaways and booths with local organizations. “We will have activities and games for families,” Thomas said. “We have quite a large list of sponsors and their names will be listed on special T-shirts that we will receive.”

Local band Apricot Brandy is scheduled to perform from 4-5 p.m. on the grounds. “Rumor has it Governor Lamont might join them for a set on keyboards,” she said. “Then at 5:15 p.m. Mayor Carbone will come out to the mound and make some announcements, the team captains will speak, and then the mayor will throw out the first pitch.”

Radio WAPJ broadcasts the match live from Fuessnich. “They’ll be there talking to people and playing the game live on the radio,” Thomas said.

Friendly Hands Food Bank is NWCT’s largest food bank and has been fighting food insecurity for over 30 years. Its founder, the late Maureen “Mo” Hubert, started the food bank in her home in 1991 by collecting non-perishable food items and donating them to neighbors in need. Since then, the food bank has grown to serve NWCT daily, providing over 34,000 meals each month.

In conjunction with CT Food Bank / Food Share standards, FHFB offers nutritious and healthy food options for families, singles and seniors. The food bank also collects backpacks full of school supplies, holiday lunch boxes, and toys and gifts during Christmas, to distribute to families in need.

In May 2020, the FHFB launched the Farmers to Families Food Box program in Connecticut, which has provided over one million pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products to many cities and towns. The food bank also hosts community programs in the building at 50 King Street, where clients can learn a range of life skills, such as exploring career paths.

The food bank holds its second annual chair auction, salvaging used wooden chairs that are repurposed by local artists and auctioned off. Last year’s event, held at the Torrington Elks Club, raised thousands of dollars for the organization. Donations of wooden chairs in good condition — not lawn chairs — are now accepted at the food bank from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. The chair auction is scheduled for November 4 and is a collaboration with the Warner Theatre. It will take place this year at the Théâtre de l’Atelier de la Marine in Nancy. Learn more about fhfb.org.

Tickets for Homeruns 4 Hunger are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Doors open at 4 p.m. when the festivities begin. For more information, contact FHFB Executive Director Karen Thomas at 860-387-1282.

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