With many of their friends and neighbors still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, more than a dozen members of the AARP Stamford Chapter pitched in to help restock depleted food pantry shelves in their community and provide needed food and toiletries to those in need before the Thanksgiving holiday.
A similar effort took place in Bridgeport, where AARP volunteers donated their time to help pack and hand out more than 500 holiday turkeys and bags of food to needy families at St. Stephen’s Food Pantry.
In Stamford, AARP volunteers worked in shifts on Saturday, November 10 at the Bedford Street Stop & Shop grocery store, handing out lists of items needed by local food pantries to shoppers entering the store, and collecting donations from generous community members. In all, the volunteers collected more than 3,000 pounds of non-perishable food and toiletries, filling two delivery trucks.
Dottie Annunziata, a Board Member of the Stamford AARP Chapter, helped organize the effort in conjunction with The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County as a way to help her community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and a subsequent snowstorm which struck the region hard, destroying homes and businesses and leaving thousands of residents without power or basic necessities.
“I can’t express how encouraging it was to see so many people in the community willing to donate what they could to help others in need,” said Dottie. “All of us who participated in the food drive are grateful to everyone who came out to support the effort and truly thankful that we were able to help make the holiday a little happier for those in need.”
Kate Lombardo, Executive Director of The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County said, “The Food Bank is so grateful to all of the AARP volunteers who participated in the recent food drive. I always marvel at the wonders of our senior population. All their lives they have worked so hard at building and maintaining our society. Now, when it is time for them to sit back and enjoy their retirement years, they continue to support their community.”
Dottie and her fellow AARP Chapter members felt the effort was so rewarding, they are looking forward to helping out the Food Bank on a regular basis. We think these ladies are pretty terrific and want to offer our thanks to them for making a difference!
Contributions still needed
In response to the overwhelming devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, AARP Foundation established the AARP Foundation Relief Fund to assist recovery efforts in areas of the country hardest hit by the storm, including states like Connecticut. Nearly $1.3 million has been raised to date to support victims and communities impacted by the storm. Donations will be given nationally to the American Red Cross and locally to organizations in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
The AARP Foundation Relief Fund recently announced $82,000 in grants for local organizations in Connecticut. The grants are being provided to: Connecticut Food Bank, The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, St. Stephen’s Food Pantry in Bridgeport, Community Dining Room in Branford, the Salvation Army of Connecticut, Southern New England Division and The United Way.
AARP and AARP Foundation encourage people to continue to donate to the relief fund in an ongoing effort to earn AARP’s match of contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $750,000, raising the potential contribution to the relief effort by AARP and AARP Foundation to as much as $1.5 million.
To donate to the AARP Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, please go to: www.aarp.org/disasterrelief.