This year, Room to Grow Preschool in Norwalk will celebrate their 25th Anniversary serving some of the hardest working families in Fairfield County. The Nationally Accredited learning program serves low income families who were strongly impacted by the pandemic due to layoffs and furloughs. Even though Room to Grow was temporarily closed as the result of a Government order, the program stepped up to help the families it serves.

“Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we already had plans in place to develop and implement a food pantry for our families,” stated Nancy Owens, Center Director. “When the coronavirus hit, we needed to step up the timeline out of a sense of urgency because many of our families could not make ends meet and were having a hard time putting food on the table.”

The pantry is part of an overall expansion project, with funding received through a grant from the Kashalon Foundation. Another $55,000 was received from a philanthropic donor to help feed families during the pandemic and the program received $6,000 in donations from individual donors combined. Additional contributions of food were provided by donations from Al’s Angels, Fill In the Blanks, and numerous food drives held by parishes,organizations and schools in the area. “Keeping the shelves of the pantry stocked helped to feed 134 families for 22 consecutive weeks during these unprecedented times,” notes Mike Donoghue, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “We need help to sustain these efforts for the long term.”

“As the coronavirus continues to impact our residents, it is extraordinary to witness Catholic Charities provide for our most vulnerable populations and support local businesses at the same time,” said Bill Tommins Southern Connecticut Market President for Bank of America. “At the onset of the coronavirus, Bank of America made a commitment to support vulnerable populations in the communities we serve. We are grateful that we can support organizations like Catholic Charities because they are so dedicated to helping those in need.”