With 9% of Fairfield County households living below the poverty level – and another 23% struggling to afford the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter – hunger and food insecurity is an issue for many of our neighbors. Darien Site Manager Aidan Wildes notes that the number of people living in poverty plus those who earn less than the basic cost of living in the communities we serve are significant – 16% of Darien households, 14% of New Canaan households and 35% of Stamford households.

“Each week, the Darien Food Pantry provides more than 65 families with enough food to prepare three meals a day for seven days,” he said.

The selection of non-perishables and canned goods includes foods high in nutritional value, many of which are donated by members of the community. For this food drive, P2P is encouraging people to donate products that are low in sodium, saturated fats and other additives.

Since 1992, Person-to-Person has been the designated recipient of grocery donations collected in Darien during the annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive.

According to Wildes, this event is the largest food drive for Person-to-Person each year and requires a fair amount of preparation and coordination.

“Various volunteer groups have been stapling the suggested shopping list of non-perishable foods to the 6,000 grocery bags donated by Palmer’s Market. These bags will be delivered to all Darien postal customers.” On the day of the event, volunteers will gather at P2P Darien to sort the donations and stock the pantry. It’s a day filled with common purpose and camaraderie. People of all ages join in, and children are welcome.

“We appreciate all the generosity, whether it’s the folks who leave a bag of groceries by the mailbox or the family that helps stock the shelves,” says Wildes, “because no one in Fairfield County should have to be hungry and donations to this Food Drive will help to ensure that people in our community won’t be.”

Darien residents are encouraged to leave a bag of groceries at their mailbox on Saturday morning, May 13. If you want to volunteer to help sort the donations, email Aidan Wildes (aidanwildes@p2pHelps.org).

Person-to-Person, Inc. was established in 1968 to provide low-income individuals and families living in Lower Fairfield County with basic emergency services. A volunteer-driven agency, Person-to-Person is committed to helping clients achieve self-sufficiency through practical help, advocacy, education and problem solving initiatives. Programs include Emergency Assistance, Campership and Scholarship. With offices in Darien and Norwalk, the Person-to-Person service area includes Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton. More information may be found on the web at www.p2pHelps.org.