Torrington Food Bank Holds ‘Celebrity’ Softball to Raise Funds and Awareness for Local Food Bank

Nice Hands Food Bank in Torrington has come up with a way to raise money to support itself, while giving a nod to the upcoming elections in November.

The Food Bank, which serves customers in and around Torrington, is hosting a 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 money for a food bank.

Governor Ned Lamont and Republican nominee for governor Bob Stefanovsky will appear at the game at Voycinich Park Torrington, according to Friendly Hands CEO Karen Thomas.

“One of our board members, Lisa Jocelyn, said that since it’s an election year, maybe we can get the gubernatorial candidates to play a civic game, display that civility, and play together,” Thomas said. “I said I liked the idea. We went to Attorney General Michael Cook, who is also a member of our board, and asked if he could help. I called Governor Lamont, and he was on board. Then Stefanovsky got on board.”

Democrats and Republicans who join opposing softball teams for fundraising choose their teammates.

“The cool thing about it is that we brought it up to the public and said if any of the selectors wanted to play, they could join in,” Thomas said. There will be a combination of Democrats and Republicans. You will see local people and others from every end of the state.”

Among the players committed to the September 7 event are Jochen First Selectman Carusello and Torrington Deputy Fire Chief David Tripp.

“We also wanted to show Torrington, so I called Mayor Eleanor Carbone, and she’s going to throw in the first pitch,” Thomas said. “We are having a great time putting this together. It’s a lot of work, but it would be a great way to raise money.”

On September 7, the gates open in Vocinych Park at 4 pm. The event begins with family activities – bounce house, food trucks, gifts and kiosks with local organizations. “We will have activities and games for families,” Thomas said. “We have a very large list of sponsors and their names will be inscribed on special T-shirts that we get.”

Local band Apricot Brandy is scheduled to perform from 4-5 p.m. on the square. “There are rumors that Governor Lamont might join them to get a set on consoles,” she said. “Then, at 5:15, Mayor Carbone will go out on the hill and make some announcements, the team leaders will speak, and then the mayor will throw the first pitch.”

WAPJ Radio broadcasts the game 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. Her founder, the late Maureen “Moe” Hubert, started the food bank from her home in 1991 by collecting non-perishable food items and providing them to neighbors in need. Since then, the food bank has grown to serve NWCT daily, serving more than 34,000 meals each month.

In combination 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 filled with school supplies, baskets of holiday meals, toys, and gifts during Christmas, to distribute to families in need.

In May 2020, the FHFB introduced Connecticut’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program, which has delivered more than 1 million pounds of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy to many cities and towns. The food bank also organizes community programs on the premises at 50 King St. , where clients can learn a range of life skills such as exploring career paths.

The Food Bank is holding its second annual Chair Auction, collecting and auctioning used wooden chairs that have been reused by local artists. Last year’s event, held at the Torrington Elks Club, brought together thousands from the organization. Donations of wooden chairs in good condition – no garden chairs – are now accepted at the food bank from 9am-1pm on weekdays. The chair auction is scheduled to take place on November 4 in association with Warner Theatre. This year it will be held at the Nancy Marin Studio Theatre. Learn more at

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

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