Over the last several months, groups of Wilton teens have dedicated time to assist Filling in the Blanks, a local organization that provides weekend meals to Fairfield and Westchester County children in need.
That need has become especially more pressing since the onset of COVID-19. Filling in the Blanks reports that Connecticut’s food insecurity rate has risen from 13.4% to 22.8%. The organization works to ease the struggle for local families, helping meet the nutritional needs of 3,600 children.
Through Wilton Youth Council, several volunteer parents and students have organized food drives and meal packaging events in conjunction with Filling in the Blanks, primarily through the Post Graduation Party (PGP) groups.
Students from the Classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024 have participated in separate events and 2023 organizer Tamara Conway helped pull together another packaging event with the help of student volunteers from across the different grades most recently on Saturday, May 1.
The PGP groups traditionally do some parent events and student events and community service events over the years but with COVID, there has been so little [in-person] community service to do,” Conway explained. Filling in the Blanks has made it possible for volunteer packers from smaller, separate groups to limit exposure but still be able to help out.
According to Conway, Wilton students are particularly industrious. “They usually fill two pallets in a two-hour shift but they knew Wilton was coming–they love our kids, so the goal was four pallets, and we did it.”
In fact, on Saturday, the Wilton students packed more than 720 meal bags, which one volunteer parent said was a record for the number of students and the time they were on the clock.
Just a few weeks earlier, the Class of 2023 packed 540 meal bags, which according to Conway, prompted a compliment from Filling in the Blanks volunteer coordinator Michelle Casey about Wilton kids “being such hard workers and nice people.”