DARIEN, Conn. – Person-to-Person has seen an increased demand for food in Stamford, Darien and New Canaan recently. As a result, the nonprofit’s food pantry is running low, and it is reaching out for donations.
“We are in dire need,” said Janet King, director of volunteers.
Use of the food pantry has increased about 4 percent over this time last year, which King says translates to about 200 more people. The need for food increases in the summer because children who receive low-cost or free meals at school no longer have that source of food and rely more on food at home.
At the start of the summer, Person-to-Person sent letters to 400 Stamford children who receive free meals at school, offering their families a week’s worth of free groceries. In July, it gave food to 90 of those families, King said.
King attributes the increased demand to the economy, the rising cost of food and droughts that affect the availability of produce. Demand increases toward the end of the month, she said, because by then clients have run out of food stamps and need to come to the pantry for food. Person-to-Person usually provides a week’s worth of groceries for three meals a day, depending on the size of the family, whereas many other emergency food pantries provide three or four days’ worth of food.
Person-to-Person relies on donations for 88 percent of the food in its pantry, with the rest purchased at the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County in Stamford. Palmer’s Market and both Stop & Shops in Darien have drop-off boxes in their stores. Webster’s Bank is hosting a food drive for Person-to-Person, and food drives have been held recently by the Middlesex Swim Club, the Wee Burn Country Club, Darien Summer School, the Darien Youth Commission and several corporations in Stamford.
The need is particularly great for cereal, Parmalat boxed milk, tuna, canned fruit, dry lentils and juice.