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Gemma Moran Honored as Placemaker for Her Pioneer Work

A celebratory event was held in honor of Gemma E. Moran, founder of the Food Center that bears her name and is located in New London, on Saturday, September 27. Moran recently turned 90 years of age, and the Food Center reached a milestone 25th anniversary the previous year. The event at the Garde Arts Center titled “A Legacy That Sustains Us,” reflected on Moran’s legacy of hunger activism and the early years of establishing the Food Center. Labor leaders were on hand to share their tales of how and why the Food Center began. Many of Moran's family members traveled to join her and share their memories. Click here to view photos from the event.

United Way volunteers, staff, and community leaders then presented some of the exciting work the Food Center is currently undertaking to alleviate hunger and food insecurity in New London County. Guests learned more about the mobile pantry program which recently opened its 12th monthly distribution site, volunteerism at the Food Center, the annual Walk Against Hunger, and the Giving Garden at Coogan Farm which will bring more fresh and healthy produce to the Food Center.

Guests were then informed of future endeavors including the development of the region's first Food Action Plan and United Way's impact work to get at the root causes of why people are struggling to make ends meet.

Part of the event included Moran receiving the inaugural Placemaking Award from CreateHereNow, an organization that aims to re-purpose under-utilized storefronts and historic buildings to become hives of community activity, which will ultimately stimulate economic growth. The award recognizes Moran as a pioneer and innovator for helping to address the area's issues around hunger.

After the celebration and award presentation, the community at large could browse State Street and the ten participating CreateHereNow storefronts, light projections from L.A.M.P (Light Artists Making Places), dance and music performances on Masonic Street and a reception for the Grand Opening of the storefronts.