Nearly 1,200 local families in need will receive free meals and nearly 500 of them will obtain emergency financial assistance from Person to Person in Norwalk, thanks to a $35,000 grant from (CHEFA), the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority.
"To live in Fairfield County, you have to make about more than $24 an hour," said Person to Person executive director Ceci Maher. "Well, that's three times minimum wage. We have people who are working two jobs, but they're still not reaching that $24 an hour income so our job here is to augment, to support, to keep people eating and to keep them in their homes."
State Senator Bob Duff joined Mayor Harry Rilling and other local officials Thursday morning at the Person to Person food pantry in Norwalk, to present the grant to the non-profit's executive director.
"CHEFA has traditionally always been really good to Norwalk, not only have they funded Person to Person over the last two years. They have also funded open door shelter this year as well in a grant, they have helped us with the Headstart building at Ely school, when that was undergoing renovation two years ago."
"We'll be giving out food for almost over 700 thousand meals, so the money that is coming from this grant will help us purchase food to augment what we're getting from food drives and food donations," said Maher.
Every month Person to Person provides over 700 families with food and within the last year it has served 24,000 people. It's the second year it has received a grant from CHEFA. Last year the self-funded agency presented Person to Person with a grant of $20,000.
"We were chosen over 100 people who applied, we were asked to achieve a grant, and we received the grant based on our application," said Maher.
Maher says this year Person to Person has seen a 50 percent increase in grants, which has already enabled it to provide 285 families with financial assistance.
"That's to keep people in their homes with rental assistance, with security deposits and also utility payments," said Maher.