Local drive prepares children in need for school

Our Lady of Fatima Church, 229 Danbury Road in Wilton, is holding its annual Project Backpack drive to provide children living in the Open Door Shelter in South Norwalk and at least seven Wilton children, with school essentials.

The Wilton parish has helped furnish these items for at least 15 years, said Alison Lombardo, who oversees the annual drive alongside fellow volunteer Nisia Todd.

“We are basically liaisons between Wilton Social Services and the Norwalk Open Door Shelter,” said Lombardo, who started running the drive about four or five years ago.

During the weekend of July 23-24, Project Backpack participants selected children for whom to purchase backpacks, school supplies and gift cards by July 31.

Lombardo said up to 150 to 200 people donate to Our Lady of Fatima’s Project Backpack each year, and the number of people donating this year won't be known until the July 31 drop-off date.

“It’s set up at the parish and people just come in and select a child and later bring in their donations,” she said.

Gift cards are given to Wilton families, while backpacks, clothing and school supplies go to the children at the shelter, said Lombardo.

“We get donations ranging from socks to scientific calculators,” she said.

Anyone who is unable to stop by Our Lady of Fatima but interested in helping may contact Lombardo at 203-761-7794. Monetary donations are also accepted.