State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, joined other officials Aug. 7 at the Norwalk headquarters of Person-to-Person to present the nonprofit organization with a $35,000 grant from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority.
"Person-to-Person embodies our community at its best -- one person reaching out to help another in need," Duff said. "By providing hundreds of thousands of free meals each year, P2P plays an essential role in the lives of our city and its families. I am very grateful to CHEFA for awarding them this grant."
The funds will support emergency assistance, a core program at P2P, which provides basic necessities such as food and clothing to low-income residents of lower Fairfield County. The program also offers financial assistance for security deposits, utility bills, prescriptions and skills training.
As noted by authority Executive Director Jeffrey Asher in the award letter, the Nonprofit Grant Program is competitive. "The authority received 123 statements of interest in response to our RFP for the program, of which 84 were selected to submit a full application. Of the 75 full applications we received, 56 projects have been selected for grant funding."
According to P2P Executive Director Ceci Maher, the grant is important to fulfillment of the agency's mission. "With the grant allocation, P2P will be able to provide emergency financial assistance to approximately 30 families and a full week's worth of groceries for 3 meals a day to more than 150 families," she said.
Through donations, grants and food drives, this year P2P expects to provide food for more than 700,000 meals. Maher notes that keeping the Norwalk and Darien emergency food pantries well-stocked during the summer months is particularly important.
"Children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals are home and parents have to stretch their already meager resources to provide additional meals," she said.
Having expanded its service area, which now is Norwalk, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Westport and Wilton, P2P welcomed the additional support from the authority.
"This is the second year that CHEFA has selected P2P for grant funding," Maher said, "and we are most grateful for their assistance in serving the people who come to us for help."