Trumbull receives municipal excellence award from regional group

TRUMBULL — Two programs that aimed to help small businesses and town residents were honored by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities last week.

At its annual convention on Nov. 1, CCM gave Trumbull a municipal excellence award for creating its Local Meals Program — through which nine local restaurants provided take-out or delivery meals to vulnerable residents — and the Main Street Dollars program, which encouraged Trumbull residents to shop locally during the holidays.

"It’s always great to receive recognition for a worthwhile program," said First Selectman Vicki Tesoro.

The CCM award included a $1,000 donation to the town.

Both programs were funded through grants. Local Meals was made possible through a $200,000 grant from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program, administered by the Connecticut Department of Housing. 

Tesoro said the grant money has almost run out, and she plans to recommend that some of the roughly $5 million remaining of the funds allocated to the town through the American Rescue Plan Act be put toward continuing the program.

"It was so necessary during (the height of the COVID-19 pandemic), and still so necessary to some town residents," she said.

To date, 5,853 meals have been served to 322 residents through the program. The meals were priced at $25 for lunch and $35 for dinner, and assistance was available for low-income residents participating in the program. The purpose was to provide meals for residents who had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That included those who had tested positive for the virus and couldn’t leave the house to shop for or pick up food for their families, and those who had lost jobs or who were unable or unwilling to leave the house for other reasons.

Expanding the Local Meals program is one of many projects that have been proposed to receive ARPA funding, with others including police body cameras and new athletic fields.

The other program recognized by CCM was the Main Street Dollars pilot program, which was funded through a $5,000 grant from United Illuminating.

The program provided up to 500 certificates to Trumbull residents to spend at three area businesses — Pure Poetry, City Line Florist and Plasko's Farm. The certificates were worth $10 and a customer had to spend a minimum of $20 at one of the participating businesses to use the certificate.

The program ran from Nov. 29, 2021 to Jan. 31 of this year and used $2,880 dollars of the grant funds. Residents spent $5,419 at the participating businesses. The remaining grant funds will be used for another round of the program during the coming holiday season

Portia DiScala Antonio, owner of Pure Poetry, said she was pleased to see the project get recognition.

"Pure Poetry was honored to have been chosen to help launch the Main Street Dollars Program," she said. "My small business saw positivity come from its purpose and I only anticipate the same for future small business participants."