Amid New Shortage, Food Donation Becomes An Art
by Allan Appel | Oct 17, 2012 8:30 am
Posted to: Arts & Entertainment, Food, Social Services
Vito Bonanno (pictured) will draw traffic lights, fans, toilets and other objects he loves on the boxes of canned goods. Other artists plan to build sculpture out of hundreds of units of tomato soup, jars of peanut butter, or boxes of mac and cheese.
This year for the first time you can not only give extra bucks at your favorite restaurant. You can also donate canned goods that will become art before it’s dismantled and gets shipped to the Connecticut Food Bank.
The new artsy angle to Restaurant Week was unveiled at a press conference at Project Storefronts Tuesday afternoon. Starting today, all the donated Little Chef tomato soup and Our Specialty Mac and Cheese other products will become the ingredients of new art project or two, or three, constructed right before your eyes in Project Storefronts’ Chapel Street windows across from Elm City Market.
At Project Storefronts Tuesday, Bonanno was joined by fellow artists Leah Fabish and Patrick Turiello, who run the Plural Workshop gallery on the second floor. They got started with some of the 1,000 cans of chicken noodle soup and peanut butter and jelly, food pantry staples, that Restaurant Week’s main sponsor Citizens Bank contributed to launch the effort.
An influx from the new twist, along with the hoped-for cash revenue that comes in from extra dollars donated when you dine at participating restaurants ($14,000 last year), are profoundly needed too, said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Nancy Carrington.
One dollar will feed one person for one day, Carrington said. That makes a difference in Connecticut, where one family in seven is struggling to put food on the table.
Trying to Close the Food Gap
“Some of the food that used to come to us in this economy is going to secondary markets, like a dollar store,” she said, where items that formerly were donated now can be sold at what she described as ten cents on the dollar.
Then there’s an unintended consequence of new scanning technology: Scanners at stores are growing so sophisticated it’s “enabling producers to produce ‘just in time’’ amount of product.”
That leaves no, or very little, excess to be donated.
In her 28 years at the Connecticut Food Bank, Carrington said, the organization has never purchased as much food before. “We never can make up the gap.”
She pronounced the new angle on art a help: “We need new twists on old themes like a food drive.”
Restaurant Week runs from Nov. 11 to Nov. 16; the food drive commences Oct. 16 and runs through Thanksgiving, to Nov. 30.
But don’t bring your canned goods to your favorite restaurants. “They have no room to store them,” said Market New Haven Chief Marketing Officer Anne Worcester.
Click here for a list of the 33 restaurants participating this year.
The three collection points for the canned-goods-into-art campaign are Gateway Community College, City Hall, and the main branch of the New Haven Free Public Library.