COVID-19 Response Fund Grantee Stories: Enfield KITE’s “One Community” Campaign Raises $30,000 to Fight Family Food Insecurity

For nearly 20 years, Enfield KITE (Key Initiatives to Early Education) has worked to ensure that Enfield’s children are healthy, safe and happy; live in thriving families; and are ready to learn the skills they need to flourish and succeed in school. As Enfield’s Early Childhood Collaborative, KITE works with community partners to marshal resources related to children and families. When COVID-19 spread to Connecticut, KITE staff changed the way they work to continue to support Enfield families. After reaching out to local community partners, it became clear that one of the greatest challenges facing the community was food insecurity.

After receiving permission to repurpose $3,900 from a grant already provided by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, KITE launched the ONE Community Campaign in an effort to rally Enfield residents around the effort to support their neighbors during this time of dire need. The initial goal was to raise an additional $2,000 for the Enfield Food Shelf and the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen; KITE exceeded that goal in less than two days. This effort caught the attention of Eppendorf, a German laboratory firm with operations in town, which donated an additional $10,000 to encourage additional matching donations.

To raise awareness for the campaign, KITE’s Marketing and Communications Specialist Jennefer Ryan designed and printed lawn signs for contributors to post in their yards. Ryan, whose position was funded by a grant from the Hartford Foundation, developed the messaging and social media campaign to promote KITE’s fundraising effort; it asks residents, businesses and local officials to pay it forward by buying signs for $10 with a match by KITE thanks to the support of Eppendorf, the Hartford Foundation, as well as $3,100 from the Enfield Rotary and $2,000 from the Enfield School Administrators’ Association. So far KITE has sold approximately 700 lawn signs, with total funds raised approaching $30,000.

“After hearing from our community partners and the families we serve, we knew that many people are struggling to provide food for their families as a result of this unprecedented health and economic crisis,” said KITE Coordinator Chris Gomeau. “We have been inspired by the collective generosity of Enfield residents, businesses, community organizations and municipal officials who have supported this effort. This cause has clearly energized united our community and this type of effort is something we hope we can build upon and sustain even after the crisis eventually subsides.”