Letter carriers in Wilton are delivering grocery bags to all postal customers this week in advance of the annual National Association of Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive, which is scheduled for Saturday, May 14. They’re hoping Wilton residents will fill the supplied grocery bags with food and pantry items from the list to donate to support Person-to-Person (P2P), which provides low-income individuals and families living in Wilton and surrounding lower-Fairfield County towns with basic emergency services. Mail carriers will pick up the filled bags left out at residents’ mailboxes on Saturday.

According to P2P’s Norwalk site manager Susan Zelman, various volunteer groups have been spending time at P2P in Norwalk stapling the suggested shopping list of non-perishable foods to brown paper grocery bags. “We have 8,000 shopping bags and lists for postal customers in Wilton.” Norwalk postal workers are also conducting a “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive for P2P the same week.

Because this event is the largest food drive for Person-to-Person each year, there’s a good deal of preparation and coordination. “We’ve made arrangements for at least 150 Wilton High School freshmen to volunteer on the day of the drive,” says Zelman. “Some of the students will be stationed at the Wilton Post Office to offload donations from the postal trucks as they arrive and transfer them to the P2P box truck for transport. Other students will be stationed at the South Norwalk Community Center to receive and sort food donations from Norwalk and Wilton.”

On Monday, May 16, 200 volunteers from Pepperidge Farm will not only sort and inventory the donations but will also help transport the food back to the P2P Norwalk site. “Working to reduce food insecurity in Norwalk and surrounding communities is a challenge best met with the help of others; so we are grateful for the collaborative assistance of the Wilton High School students and Pepperidge Farm employees.”

With all of the logistical planning behind them, everyone is now counting on the generosity of people in Norwalk and Wilton. “More than 9-percent of people in Norwalk are living in poverty, but there’s also poverty in Weston (2.7%), Westport (3.7%) and Wilton (2.5%),” Zelman notes. “Hunger and food insecurity is an issue that many in our communities are dealing with.”

Each week, more than 150 individuals and families shop at the Norwalk pantry for enough food to prepare three meals a day for seven days. “At P2P we think that no one in Fairfield County should have to be hungry,” Zelman says, “and donations to this Food Drive will help to ensure that people in our community won’t be.”

People are encouraged to leave a bag of groceries at their mailbox on the morning of Saturday, May 14 or drop it off at the local Post Office in Norwalk or Wilton that same day.