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Hartford community leaders finding a creative way to raise awareness about food insecurity

The mural that is being created by Mike Rice is meant to reveal barriers to food access and ways people can get help.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Across America and right here in Connecticut, food insecurity is at an all-time high. In Hartford, leaders in the community are finding a creative way to raise awareness about food insecurity. 

Art is a form of expression. It tells a story, especially the mural in the making at Bravo Supermarket. 

“It says a lot without saying a lot,” said  Alondre Rush. 

The fine details etched on the side of a South end staple have a detailed meaning.

“When people see this, if they don’t know the history behind it, they are going to be curious to ask which then is going to lead to a conversation that addresses the real root of the issue overall which is how can I access these resources,” said Rush. 

The mural that is being created by Mike Rice is meant to reveal barriers to food access and ways people can get help. 

“This is a place that you can seriously need some help. They’re willing to help you. We have a food pantry over in the church there. So we want to expose those kinds of things so people know there’s places for them to go,” said community leader Hyacinth Yennie. 

Yennie, who has been a south-end community leader for more than two decades, is featured in the mural. 

“The way I look at this mural is that when you live in a community you have to be a part of the community. When you work in the community or have a business in the community you have to make people feel that you are a part of the community and you want to make sure that everyone else feels like they are welcomed and that’s why this mural is so important to us,” said Yennie.

Finding a creative way to raise awareness about food insecurity, was made possible through United Ways ELS case competition which Alondre Rush won through his company, Hartford Steam Boiler’s, public awareness campaign. 

According to United Way, The ELS Case Competition is a “Shark Tank” style competition that allows for innovative thinking, problem-solving and professional development for young professionals, all while offering up ideas that may have a long-term impact on our community

After winning they canvassed the neighborhood surveying people about food insecurity. 

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“I think the overwhelming response that we received is that people know that these resources exist but they don’t know how to access them,” said Rush. 

Then came the mural which is also meant to destigmatize people asking for help by creating something special for the community. 

“We want people to see that wow I am from this area that has all of this amazing history and then we want people to feel inside that wow I have a sense of pride that I live here and then to say wow the community that I live in, serve, and work also provides these resources that allows us to make a living but also give others life too,” said Rush. 

This boots-on-the-ground effort created a domino effect of a problem and solution. 

“That’s what we wanted to create an environment where there are answers and not just questions,” said Rush. 

DeAndria Turner is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. She can be reached at dturner@fox61.com. 


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