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

Posted: Updated:

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.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus stories from News 12 
GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC
CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION: What you can do to protect yourself
GET THE FACTS: What you need to know about coronavirus
BY THE NUMBERS: The latest statistics from the CDC

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.

CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: Cases in the tri-state area
TESTING SITES: A list of coronavirus testing sites in the tri-state area

The impact of the coronavirus around the world


sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."