Wilton and Norwalk help ‘stamp out hunger’

Student volunteers from the Wilton High School Class of 2019 helped load food donations at the Wilton Post Office for transport to the South Norwalk Community Center on Saturday, May 14, when the USPS annual “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive took place.

On the second Saturday in May each year, the USPS collects food at post office sites as well as mailbox pick-ups. The donations go to various food banks in local communities around the country.

Another group of WHS Class of 2019 students was stationed at the Community Center, along with Person-to-Person (P2P) volunteers and staff, to receive the food donations from Norwalk and Wilton and prep for sorting.

P2P received 5,922 bags of donated food during the drive.

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. Another group of volunteers sorted and folded all the paper and plastic bags in which donations were received so that 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,” she said.

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 welcome, a P2P press release said.

For their help, P2P thanked the community volunteers, 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, and the Pepperidge Farm volunteers.

“Because people came together in Wilton and Norwalk,” Zelman said, “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. provides low-income individuals and families living in lower Fairfield County with basic emergency services. Its service area includes Wilton.