The lights are slowly starting to come back on across Fairfield County after Superstorm Sandy and for most, things are slowly but surely starting to return to normal. However, there are still many in our region affected by this fierce storm in need of immediate help. We spoke with a number of groups here in Fairfield County working to help ease the burden and offer some ideas below for ways you can get involved.
In Stamford, The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, which supports a number of local agencies including the Salvation Army, needs help refilling its pantry and supporting the countless people in the area affected by Sandy. Food Bank Executive Director Kate Lombardo tells us they are in serious need of non-perishable foods like breakfast cereal and Parmalat. You can get a full list of items they need on their website.
Lombardo also says they are looking for groups like local businesses to run food drives. She says the Food Bank will even come pick up the donations for a sizable food drive. If you’d like to volunteer, Lombardo says they are always looking for help sorting and stocking donations at their warehouse. To contact them, call 203.348.8898.
In neighboring Greenwich, Manager of Volunteer Resources and Youth Services at the American Red Cross-Metro NY North Chapter, Andrew Sindell, tells us that due to the overwhelming response to Sandy they are currently not deploying volunteers who are not already trained by the Red Cross. However, he says if you are interested in volunteering to contact them in one to two weeks when the immediate need settles down. There will still be plenty of work to do. Sindell also says individuals in Connecticut looking to get involved can call 211 to find out more.
In Darien, Person-to-Person says they are also seeing a huge need for food right now, especially for clients in Stamford and Norwalk who lost the contents of their refrigerators. P2P also lost power at its own food pantry and had to discard a significant amount of food, mostly meats. They are also in need of clothing donations and have already sent about 150 bags to Norwalk to help residents who have been flooded out of their homes. To help P2P, visit their website or give them a call at 203.655.0048.
In Fairfield, Director of Operation Hope Carla Miklos says their immediate need is for donations of non-perishable food items. They are also looking for donations of gift cards to local grocery stores like Stop and Shop or Shop Rite so clients can restock after losing food this past week. You can reach them at 202.292.5588.
Also in Fairfield, one of the hardest hit shoreline communities, there is an all-volunteer group coming together to mobilize a massive cleanup of the beachfront neighborhoods. Lindsey Morton and a couple of friends came up with the idea to launch Fairfield Beach Relief.
“We all grew up here in Fairfield and after Sandy we were looking to do something to help the victims living near the beach,” said Morton. “It seemed that everyone wanted to help those affected, but were having trouble finding a way to do so. We decided to name the date, time and place and the response was immediate.”
This Sunday November 11, volunteers will be meeting at Jennings Beach at 9:30 a.m. Groups will be dispatched to clean up affected homes and areas.
“Our hope was that this week, after power is restored, residents would be able to focus on the interior of their homes, especially with another storm in our future and the below-normal temperatures,” said Morton. “This way, we figure volunteers could arrive on Sunday to take care of the outside clean up that needed to be done.”
Volunteers are asked to bring rakes, work gloves, leaf bags, wheelbarrows and other equipment that may help also with the cleanup. Organizers ask that volunteers interested should RSVP via Facebook so they can be prepared with team assignments.
Katie Boland, a Fairfield native and one of the cleanup organizers, says this is all about a community sticking together through thick and thin.
“I grew up in Fairfield and spent many summers at Penfield and Jennings Beach. There's something really special about this community in Fairfield and I am excited to be able to give something back to it.”
At VolunteerSquare, this is just what we love to see happening! Let us know if there’s a community cleanup in your neighborhood so we can share it with our friends.
As you can see, there is no shortage of ways to help out. Even if not with one of these agencies, check in on your neighborhood or at your local school, community center or place of worship. Many are organizing smaller food drives and cleanups. As always, remember to check out Fairfield County-based VolunteerSquare.com to see volunteer opportunities throughout the year. It’s free and easy!