Darien food pantry seeks volunteers to meet 35% spike in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

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Food pantries in Connecticut have had to rethink how they serve the community since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, especially since they have seen an influx in the amount of people in need of services.

CEO Nancy Coughlin, of the nonprofit Person-to-Person, says the organization's model is about self- selection, but the virus has forced pantry leaders to adapt to a new way. 

Coughlin says she has seen a 35% increase in demand since the pandemic began and it's been a challenge. She says the nonprofit has had to enlist extra volunteers from the Darien YMCA to fill bags of groceries so clients can grab them on the go from the curb.

"We have spent the past three weeks completely pivoting on a daily basis trying to figure out how to deliver services and ramp up capacity," says Coughlin.

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Normally those in need would enter the pantry, pick their own food and go feed their families. Since that's now unsafe, the food is packed and left out for those who need groceries.

Coughlin says gracious volunteers are answering the call for help, but more are always needed. She says Person-to-Person is helping feed many people who thought they would never need assistance from a food pantry.

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