Loaves and Fishes Ministries, Inc.

Assistance for families in Hartford, CT

Hunger is always with us

Loaves and Fishes Ministries directly impacts families throughout the Asylum Hill neighborhood and in greater Hartford who eat in our soup kitchen and then use our related programs to move beyond immediate crisis needs. Recent national studies all find that more Americans continue to be hungry than ever before, despite concerted efforts on the part of non-profits and volunteers working together. Poor families repeatedly run short of food, and far too many families suffer from “very low food security”–which means they have to skip meals or not eat for a day due to lack of funds. In the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford, this “very low food security” is what we address, day in and day out, at Loaves and Fishes Ministries. No matter how hard we work, hunger is always with us, but we believe we can do something to alleviate the problem for motivated clients when we have partners who care.

Serving the Asylum Hill neighborhood

Loaves and Fishes Ministries was founded in 1982 and has been serving residents of the Asylum Hill neighborhood for almost 35 years as an independent non-profit organization intent on change. Clients report their lives have been changed because they come to the soup kitchen hungry and leave having eaten what is often their only hot meal of the day. We served more than 35,000 meals annually in our soup kitchen.

A daily, full hot meal

We have never had to turn away a client due to lack of food or inability to provide take home extras. All who come to eat at Loaves and Fishes and abide by our organization’s rules are served, and gain the benefit of a daily, full hot meal and take home extras.

Job Training

Our clients are 85% minority, and 40% percent female. Single mothers and families continue to be a large portion of our population. Homeless figures remain difficult to pin down, for the reason that many clients stay with friends or relatives on a rotating basis but have no permanent home. The percentage of those we see in our soup kitchen who are working poor remains at approximately 33%; these individuals are now looking for help with food and are also making use of our job training program for help with job skills and employment.

Summer 2024 update

The lovely weather has finally arrived (and the heat!), and a steady stream of clients enjoying our meals continues inside.

Diners continue to find our food both nutritious and very delicious – we always get high marks for taste! Our clients appreciate the quality of the meals we provide, and often remark on the obvious care that staff and volunteers take when you are here to serve them. Please know your work does not go unnoticed — we are reaching those in need, and volunteers are enjoying being busy. It is good to see you all here.

We are also seeing an increase in requests for pantry bags, both from those we know in our immediate area and from new faces and families. Thanks to all of you for the generous donations of meals, ingredients, baked goods, non-perishables, and all of those “extras” that continue to flow in – they make such an incredible difference in our ability to provide nutritious meals every Monday through Friday, and in our ability to fill pantry bags for families who are food insecure in the greater Hartford area. In April we reached over 2,730 with our meals, lunch bags, and pantry offerings – we couldn’t do this without you.

Our Knitting Group began with several students this spring. Our goal is to establish a community of women (much like in our sewing program) who offer a supportive environment to each other. Our volunteer teacher, Cindy, is patient, warm, and truly the right person to lead this group. We are excited about this new offering, and clients are enjoying having a space once a week to knit and chat.

Thanks to all who participated in the Walk Against Hunger for Loaves & Fishes, and to those who donated generously. Thanks to generous supporters we are thrilled to be very close to reaching our fundraising goal of $15,000!

Stay cool this summer – we look forward to seeing you with us!

Members of the Avon Rotary Club at Loaves and Fishes

Volunteer Calendar

We are here for you

Thank You for Your Dedication to Our Clients

If you think you may be short on volunteers for your day, please call us 48 hours in advance (if possible) so we can find extra help. We understand that sometimes you have questions about serving at Loaves & Fishes. We are here to answer those questions! Please do not hesitate to call us at 524-1730. Remember, when weather is difficult, the group contact makes the decision concerning group attendance. It is always your call.

Certificate Program

At L & F we want to make sure that we never lose sight of the individuals behind the numbers. No matter how much we pay attention to numbers and results, we put our greatest emphasis on those people coming in the door to eat a much needed meal; on meeting their needs where we find them. We track the number of clients who move from one program into related services – to determine how many clients are able to move beyond crisis intervention of the soup kitchen into individual economic development of our job training program, or our sewing program. And all of our clients and programs benefit from your support of our certificate program.

Send a certificate today

Our certificates are a thoughtful, creative way to remember friends and relatives during the holidays and year-round. At the same time that donors remember a loved one, they also help fill the needs of the hungry and homeless. The vast majority of certificates are sent for Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year, but we also receive requests for certificates in honor of weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and memorials. Each year, Loaves & Fishes processes close to 200 certificates.. Call the office (860-524-1730) for an order form.


Some quotes from volunteers and clients

Loaves and Fishes Ministries is a tax-exempt, charitable organization that provides human services to the poor in Hartford, CT. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford, CT, as a step toward the larger goal of creating diverse, healthy, and self-motivated communities. We serve low-income and poverty level individuals and families. Loaves & Fishes provides support services for these individuals trying to break the cycle of dependency. Through education, food, counseling, and economic development programs we hope to provide at least some of the community fabric that is critical to personal achievement. By assisting those people who are below the poverty level we expect to have positive repercussions within the community in terms of reduced crime and violence, removal of slums and blight, and an improved overall living environment.

United Way State Campaign Code #5328