FAIRFIELD COUNTY—The coronavirus pandemic has seen many parishes stepping up to give back in any way they can. One way is through drive-through food drives, where food can be collected for donation in a safe and sanitary way.
The first weekend of May, both St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull and Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilton conducted drive through food drives, both of which were huge successes.
St. Catherine of Siena’s Social Justice and Charitable Outreach Group raised more than $3,000 in cash and food donations from nearly 100 feet of tables. Donations were delivered to the Trumbull Food Pantry, Blessed Sacrament Parish and the Thomas Merton Center, all of which are experiencing extraordinary need right now.
Father Joseph Marcello, pastor, reflected that “Many families who came to help were wearing masks. They had big smiles under their masks, which I could see in their eyes, as they were here because they wanted to help. It’s attributed to St. Francis of Assisi that it is in giving that we receive.” He continued: “We don’t know who the recipients of this food will be other than that they are hungry and in need. And we know that not one of those cars would have come on that day had it not been for Jesus Christ, who came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
Our Lady of Fatima Parish’s event collected much needed food and supplies for the Thomas Merton Center. The event raised well over $9,000 in donations, including grocery store gift cards.
Father Reginald Norman, pastor, said he was “deeply moved by the success of this event.” Volunteers filled two vans with food before donations were even counted. Father Reggie guessed donations would come in at well over $3,000—and he was right!
“The drive was a great success because we came together and worked as a community with one common goal: feed those less fortunate than us.,” said Father Reggie, who said his parishioners did a great job spreading the word on social media and through word of mouth. “I believe that people want to help but don’t always know how to and when given an opportunity, they rise to the occasion. We are blessed and the people in my community are very generous.”
Catholic Charities of Fairfield County expressed their sincere gratitude for all donations to the Thomas Merton Center, which is working hard to protect the poor and vulnerable in the community who have been hit hardest by this crisis.
At this time, the Thomas Merton Center remains open. The soup kitchen is serving take-out breakfast and lunch six days a week and providing 300 meals per day, which is a 40 percent increase. The food pantry is providing 10 days of groceries for low-income families and distributing excess food when available to local shelters and churches. The Merton Center is also preparing and sharing meals with surrounding services.
(For more information on Catholic Charities of Fairfield County and their many services, or if you are interested in donating, visit: ccfairfield.org.)
By Elizabeth Clyons