WILTON — Members of the Wilton Kiwanis Club are familiar figures at local markets, conducting food drives several times a year to benefit the town’s food pantry. The one coming up Friday, June 26 through Sunday, June 28, will be a bit different.

Club members wearing “Feed Wilton” t-shirts will be outside the Village Market at 108 Old Ridgefield Road from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

With physical contact discouraged by COVID-19, the focus will be on gift card donations to serve those who are food insecure. Kiwanis will match the first $3,000 of the proceeds.

According to Sarah Heath, director of Wilton Social Services, the number of residents who are financially challenged and in need of assistance numbers more than 350.

Kiwanis is seeking Village Market gift cards that can be purchased in the store at the cash register. Customers may then drop them in a special box provided by a designated member of the club.

“For more than a decade, the generosity and giving spirit of our community have been demonstrated through participation in Kiwanis food drives in support of the Wilton Food Pantry,” said Kiwanis team leader Tom Connors. “It will require a little bit of ingenuity this year, but we aren’t going to let COVID-19 get in the way of reducing food insecurity, a fundamental human need.”

For years the Kiwanis Club has held quarterly food drives, but it didn’t hold one in June this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Club member Jack McFadden came up with the idea to collect gift cards to make it easier for food pantry volunteers to process and distribute to those in need. McFadden decided to re-brand this special food drive, “Feed Wilton.”

“I don’t know if the club will be doing a food drive in this manner when the COVID threat is over, but for now this is what we’ll do. It’s something new,” said Connors.