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Hartford HealthCare Is First Ever ‘Beneficiary Sponsor’ for Hartford Taste

May 25, 2023

Hartford HealthCare has long believed that addressing the health of a community goes beyond individuals’ physical and emotional wellbeing and includes meeting the social and community needs as well.

This year, in addition to road races and community health fairs, HHC pledged a new type of sponsorship to an important local event as “beneficiary sponsor” of Hartford Taste, a two-day food and music festival in downtown Hartford that raises funds for Connecticut Foodshare. Connecticut Foodshare is a statewide nonprofit that addresses root causes of hunger, creates long-term solutions and distributes nutritious food through local partner programs.

“Hartford HealthCare is an essential part of our community, and we support local businesses and programs every day,” says Jeffrey A. Flaks, president and chief executive officer of Hartford HealthCare. “Our support of Connecticut Foodshare through the Hartford Taste event is a great example of how we partner with businesses and not-for-profits — meeting social and community needs.”

The $10,000 sponsorship goes directly to Connecticut Foodshare, and that guarantees the organization can provide food for 20,000 meals for individuals and families in need across the state, says Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Connecticut Foodshare. This is especially important for a weather-dependent fundraising event .

“Knowing that we will definitely have $10,000 thanks to Hartford HealthCare is absolutely tremendous,” Jakubowski says. “It’s a great feeling. With events that depend on weather and the number of people that attend, well, this sponsorship gives us a little insurance.”

Connecticut Foodshare partners with a network of 650 food pantries, meal programs and mobile distribution sites to provide food to those in need. Last year, it provided nearly 39 million healthy meals.

“People think there isn’t hunger across Connecticut,” Jakubowski says. “In all 169 towns, there is at least one family in need. We estimate there are 420,000 food insecure people in the state. In a state where there is a lot of affluence, there is a significant amount of poverty.”

More than 30 Hartford restaurants will combine with about 30 musical acts for two days of fun, says Hartford Taste organizer Marc Sherer. This is the second year for the event, which was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. A percentage of the proceeds goes to Connecticut Foodshare.

Hartford HealthCare’s $10,000 commitment “is a really generous amount,” Sherer says. “It shows Hartford HealthCare’s commitment to the city and the state.”

David Juros, food medicine consultant at Hartford Hospital, notes that having access to fresh and healthy foods is important to the overall health of the population.

“It’s important in two different ways,” he says. “Food has gotten expensive and healthy food is even more expensive. Plus, some areas don’t have full grocery stores. It’s a matter of access and affordability.”

Juros goes on to say, “It’s also about helping people achieve their health goals. Adding more healthy foods to their diets can help them overcome health issues like diabetes, heart disease and others.”

The event is Friday and Saturday, June 9-10, from noon to 9 p.m., on Constitution Plaza in Hartford.

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