This weekend, your mail carrier is hoping your mailbox is full of items to pickup. That’s because Saturday, May 10 is the National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive. Locally, food collected will be delivered to Person-to-Person (P2P); any food donations in Wilton will be given to P2P’s Norwalk Emergency Food Pantry, which serves people in Weston, Westport, Wilton and Norwalk and is sourced by several partner agencies including Domestic Violence Crisis Center and Open Door Shelter. 

Mail carriers will also collect food from surrounding towns, some of which will be brought to P2P’s Darien Emergency Food Pantry as well.

As part of raising awareness for the effort, letter carriers have delivered postcards and plastic bags (like those pictured) in residents’ mailboxes this week.

According to P2P officials, it is a call-to-action for people to leave food out, but it’s also another way for them to let people in Wilton know that Person-to-Person now has a facility in their area, if they need help or if they want to help for this drive or at any time in the future.

In all, P2P received more than 76,000 pounds of groceries last year to stock the two Food Pantries and for distribution to several partner agencies (Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Open Door Shelter, St. Vincent de Paul, Homes with Hope, Malta House, Salvation Army and the Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project).

According to P2P’s director of volunteers Janet King, this event is the largest food drive for Person-to-Person each year and requires a fair amount of preparation and coordination.

“In Darien, Palmer’s Market has donated 6,500 grocery bags that will be delivered to all Darien postal customers accompanied by a suggested shopping list of non-perishable foods.” On the day of the event, volunteers will gather at our Darien location to sort the donations and stock the pantry. “It’s a day filled with common purpose and camaraderie. People of all ages join in, including families with children.”

For the Norwalk location, just about everyone pitches in – from the Boy Scouts in Wilton who will be offloading food from the postal trucks as they arrive on the day of the drive, to the corporate volunteers from area businesses who will inventory and sort donations during the following week.

“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 King, “because this is so very important for the people who come to us for food.”

With nearly 9 percent of Fairfield County residents living below the poverty level, hunger and food insecurity is an issue that many in our communities are dealing with. King notes that 1 in 10 families has struggled to find the next meal and that the rate of food insecurity among children is even higher, at 1 in 6. “Each week, we provide more than 200 families with enough food to prepare three meals a day for seven days, because no one in Fairfield County should have to be hungry.”

With your help, people in your community won’t be. Leave a bag of groceries at your mailbox on the morning of Saturday, May 10. If you want to volunteer, email Janet King in Darien (jking@p2pHelps.org) or Ed Kearns in Norwalk (edkearns@p2pHelps.org).