Wi-ACT Shifts from Meal Packaging to Helping Local Cystic Fibrosis Families

photo: Wilton Presbyterian Church

Before COVID, more than 750 volunteers would help feed the hungry by participating in the Wilton Interfaith Action Committee‘s annual Rise Against Hunger meal packaging event. It was a family-friendly, intergenerational, exhilarating, and highly important effort in which the community came together to help feed people who are food insecure.

But in COVID times, Wi-ACT had to shift its typical activity and find a different path to channel the GOOD of the community. How?

The answer came from adding a new, locally-focused dimension to one of Wi-ACT’s other existing programs.

Wi-ACT has long supported the efforts of two Wilton residents, the husband and wife team of Dr. Hossein Sadeghi and Dr. Golnar Raissi, who founded a charity called CF Bridge of Hope in 2013. Bridge of Hope helps cystic fibrosis (CF) patients in areas of the world where treatment and access to CF health and support services are not readily available.

Bridge of Hope provides food, housing, and other assistance to young CF patients from overseas whose very breathing is so drastically compromised by their disease; they come to the U.S. for short-duration but life-saving clinical treatment as a bridge solution while local resources in their native countries or regions are being established. In many instances without education, support and treatment, many of these children will die.

Wi-ACT, which has provided meals and assistance to the patients that come here for treatment, is expanding that program now with an entirely local focus–and pivoting with an alternative-to-meal-packaging event for this year to support these struggling local families in the tri-state area accessed through the Stamford-based CF clinical program.

Wi-ACT is asking its meal-packaging volunteers to provide gift cards for food and also for holiday gifts. Organizers hope to see whole families engaged in the effort, suggesting that children write notes to recipients and prepare decorative envelopes to hold the gift cards.

As the Wi-ACT steering committee’s letter to volunteers put it, “This experience will underscore with children in ways similar to the meal-packaging event the significance of work to meet the needs of others whatever the challenges.”

Donors can send gift cards, notes and decorated envelopes to:

P.O. Box 572
Wilton, CT 06897

Volunteers are asked to select gift cards for Amazon, Shop ‘n’ Shop, or Target. Gifts in larger amounts for which the donor seeks an acknowledgment of charitable donation should be made to any of the 12 faith institutions that support Wi-ACT’s work–just about all of Wilton’s faith institutions–with a check memo notation that it’s for the “Wi-ACT CF Project.”