The Wilton and Norwalk Post Offices collected almost 60,000 pounds of donated food as part of the “Stamp Out Hunger” effort to support Person-to-Person on Saturday, May 14. Once food collection finished, then hundreds of volunteers did their part over the next few days to make sure all the donations got sorted, delivered and stored for use by P2P clients.

Student volunteers from Wilton High School’s Class of 2019 were key volunteers. When postal trucks arrived at the Wilton Post Office with bags filled with food donated by Wilton residents that Saturday, the student volunteers were on hand to offload the donations, and then re-load them onto the P2P truck for transport to the staging area at South Norwalk Community Center.

There, another group of WHS Class of 2019 students were stationed, along with Person-to-Person volunteers and staff, to receive the food donations from Norwalk and Wilton and prep for sorting.

On Monday, May 16, more than 200 Pepperidge Farm employees volunteered in two shifts at the Community Center to handle the final phase of the Food Drive operation – unpacking bags, checking expiration dates, sorting food into crates, loading crates onto the P2P truck, walking from the Community Center to P2P Norwalk, offloading the truck, stacking the crates in the Food Pantry and storage areas, walking back to the Community Center, and then doing it all over again. Another group of Pepperidge Farm volunteers sorted and folded all the paper and plastic bags in which donations were received so they will be available for use by P2P Food Pantry clients.

The two-day project went smoothly and quickly, according to Norwalk site manager Susan Zelman, in large part due to the efforts of the WHS student volunteers and teamwork of the Pepperidge Farm volunteers. “It was an impressive organizational feat on the part of the volunteers from every department at Pepperidge Farm. They handled more than 59,000 pounds of donated food in an 8-hour period.”

Because the summer months bring a higher demand for food as many P2P clients are faced with providing three meals a day to their children who, during the school year, receive free or reduced meals, the additional inventory from this Food Drive – valued at more than $118,000 – is very important.

Everyone at Person-to-Person is grateful to all who donated food, the community volunteers including WHS Class of 2019 volunteers Phoebe Beshlian, Joey Bohacs, Caroline Coffey, Thomas Costello, Ally Dejana, Liv Dexter, Michael DiCostanzo, Delia Freiliech, Jayne Guglielmo, Drew Herlyn, Chris Lancaster, Daniel Ottari, William Ronk, Max Schwartz, Quinn Smith, Jake Stein, Alex Sywak and August Theoharides.

In addition, the following kids volunteered under supervision of Wilton’s Kimberly Johnson at the local post office that same day (Willem Leconte, Dylan Kennedy, Izzy King, Matthew King, Carly Sullivan, Jack Caty, Clayton Latone, Reed O’ Brien and Jayne Konatsotis).

“Because people came together in Wilton and Norwalk,” Zelman says, “there are many individuals and families in the Greater Norwalk Area who will know where their next meal is coming from.”

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 community-supported 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.

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