Wilton meets holiday needs for residents

Wilton is known as an affluent suburban community, but there are pockets of need even in the green grass of two-acre-zoning neighborhoods.

More than 100 Wilton children were signed up for free Christmas toys from Toys for Tots and other providers as of Dec. 14, said Sarah Heath, director of social services. That is more than last year, although the exact number more won’t be known until Dec. 22, when the gift-giving program closes for the holiday.

“Right now we have over 100 children in Wilton receiving toys, thanks to generous donations of many organizations and individuals, including Toys for Tots. It’s been a real group effort,” Heath said, adding that around 25 organizations and many generous individuals are involved in the giving.

The holiday season began with Thanksgiving, when the department gave out 75 holiday baskets and the Wilton Woman’s Club prepared and delivered 60 hot meals on Thanksgiving eve. That was also up from the previous year.

“Absolutely, we have families that live in single-family homes and apartments and condominiums who have fallen on hard times,” Heath said. If the families fall within the department’s income guidelines, they receive assistance.

“They not only benefit from holiday programs, but they get access to our food pantry once a week,” Health said. She pointed out that the food pantry has benefited from a $40,000 donation from Wilton Rocks for Food, the annual fund-raising concert charity that features local musicians for a local audience.

Wilton residents also may qualify for energy assistance to help pay their heating bills. About 20 households had applied by Dec. 14, Heath said, about the same as last year.

“Because of the outpouring of generous donations from Wilton residents and many organizations in town, we are able to help more individuals than we have in past years. Anyone who is eligible will not be turned away,” Heath said.

To learn more about Wilton Social Services and to qualify for programs, call 203-834-6238 to make an appointment.