DARIEN — Darien Human Services is offering a Thanksgiving grocery store gift card drive this year for those in need beginning Monday.

In announcing the drive, Human Services Director Ali Ramsteck noted that COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on everyone, but for those who had already been living paycheck to paycheck, the impact has been devastating.

“With many businesses closed and unemployment applications exceeding 350,000 in the state, putting food on the table has become one of the biggest challenges for families. Local food pantries have seen a doubling and even tripling for those who need food and many are reporting that people they’re serving have never sought food assistance before,” she said.

To help at-risk Darien residents this Thanksgiving, Darien Human Services is hosting a Thanksgiving grocery store gift card drive from Nov. 2 through Nov. 24.

Gift cards will be collected from local grocery stores such Stop & Shop, Shop Rite, Palmer’s, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, which will then be distributed to local families and seniors in need. Residents are asked to drop off the gift cards at Town Hall or mail them to Darien Human Services, 2 Renshaw Road.

“With your support, we can help make Thanksgiving a little happier for those who need it most,” Ramsteck said.

The department is open 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Town Hall is closed on Fridays.

Residents can contact Diane Barston at dbarston@darienct.gov or 203-656-7328 with any questions.