Hello fellow volunteers!

As many of you know, the Pantry gets the majority of the food we distribute from the Connecticut Food Bank. Some of that food is funded by the federal government through programs administered by the USDA.

In order to participate in these programs, EVERY active Daily Bread volunteer must complete a mandatory civil rights training course every year.

Even in the absence of this requirement, brushing up on our knowledge of civil rights laws and the history behind them is never a bad idea.

Somewhat helpfully, the USDA has produced some slides that satisfy the training requirement. These slides can be found here. A similar version in Spanish is here. This is the material you MUST review in order to continue to volunteer at the Pantry. The absolute deadline to complete the training is March 1 and you MUST let me know you have done so!!
Now the bad news: In my opinion, the slides are not really user-friendly, and the important takeaways get lost in a morass of legalese. As you plod through them, keep in mind the core principles at stake:

  • Don't treat people differently because of their:
  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Religion/Faith
  • Veteran Status
  • Citizenship
  • These are (most of) the so-called federally protected classes. Not all are included specifically in the requirements for food distribution programs, but I'd rather err on the safe side. In fact, I'd go even further and say if you are going to treat ANYBODY differently because of ANY characteristic, you need to examine your motives pretty closely.
  • Be aware that we all have biases and prejudices and can treat people differently quite unconsciously - or by failing to do something rather than doing something (e.g., not helping someone with a disability, or assuming everyone can speak English).
  • Know how to help someone who has a civil rights-related concern, and don't retaliate against someone if they have or want to file a complaint - see the "Justice for All" poster in the Pantry, or the link on the home page of our website.
  • Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. Unless you don't like to be treated nicely and fairly, in which case ignore this last bullet.


OK - that's it. But reading this email IS NOT a substitute for doing the full training. And don't put it off until the deadline. The first 50 volunteers to let me know they have completed the training will be entered in a drawing to win a civil rights-themed tea towel of their choosing from The Radical Tea Towel Company. What's a tea towel you say? You are on your own there.