WILTON — Students at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy recently organized a food drive to benefit the Wilton Food Pantry.

The students are members of Sodality, a Catholic youth group for students in sixth through eighth grades that is largely dedicated to community service projects.

Our Lady of Fatima Youth Ministry Coordinator Mara Fleming explained it was Abby Jones, a Wilton resident and seventh-grade student, who suggested the food drive during a recent Sodality meeting on Zoom.

“We talked about… specific problems that the pandemic is causing in our community,” Fleming said. “Abby pointed out that the pandemic has been, understandably, taking everyone’s attention right now, and that some constant needs — like feeding the hungry in our community — are being overshadowed.”

Fleming recalled Abby saying, “I don’t want us to forget about them.”

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Part of Abby’s inspiration came from the school’s previous initiatives to provide meals to local healthcare workers during the pandemic. Since the crisis began, volunteers, including students, staff and parents, have organized several large-scale meal deliveries to Norwalk Hospital and other healthcare workers in the area.

Abby obtained permission from Academy principal Stan Steele and pastor, Father Reggie Norman, to set up collection bins for the food drive, and then tackled all the logistical details, including scheduling, promotion and the delivery.

“Abby did it all,” Fleming said. “She was an excellent leader in this project. When I last left off with Abby, she was writing thank you notes” to people who supported the food drive.

Sodality’s projects are entirely youth-led, Fleming said. “The club aims to foster a habit of service in its participants, and to really equip them with the skills and confidence they need to take a good deed from idea to successful conclusion.”

Sodality is not limited to Our Lady of Fatima. Interested students in sixth through eight grade are welcome to check it out by emailing Fleming at fatimayouthk8@gmail.com with any questions.