Notre Dame Church of Easton has been supporting the Blessed Sacrament Food Pantry in Bridgeport on an ongoing basis since 2014. Volunteers from the Women of Notre Dame spearhead the outreach effort. The church women’s group has supported the food pantry throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Notre Dame has been one of our most generous and faithful donors with almost weekly groceries and food cards and checks from the parish and women’s society,” said the Rev. Joseph “Skip” Karcsinski of Blessed Sacrament Church. Father Skip has been administrator of the church for the past eight years.
The food pantry is open every Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to noon except for the first Thursday of the month. The pantry serves 300 registered families that include senior citizens, parents and young children. The pantry also offers the opportunity to sign up for other support services.
However, due to COVID-19, the pantry has had to make changes to its normal operations. “Because of Covid, we have reduced our number of volunteers but increased our clients,” said Father Skip.
“We have to pre-pack bags and open early to avoid crowding. We have given the most usable space in the rectory for pantry use. We can’t visit with our clients like before,” he said.
Notre Dame of Easton has kept up with its weekly donations during the pandemic. Notre Dame has kept the church open for donations during the week instead of just on weekends to allow for more distributed donation times. Parishioners who haven’t returned to in-person Mass are still able to drop off donations to the church kitchen at a convenient time.
“We are so grateful that our level of support for the Blessed Sacrament Food Pantry has not dropped off at all during the pandemic; our parishioners are very generous,” said Jeanine Pagliaro, parishioner at Notre Dame of Easton and president of Women of Notre Dame. “There have been several weeks when two vehicles were needed to bring all the donated items from Notre Dame to Blessed Sacrament.”
Notre Dame had to get creative during the winter to follow COVID-19 guidelines while also accepting donations to support the food pantry.
“In December 2020, we held a drive-through drop-off event when parishioners just had to drive into the parking lot and drop off donations without getting out of their cars,” said Pagliaro. “Notre Dame of Easton volunteers will also pick up donations from parishioners’ homes if requested.”
Anyone can donate food and personal care products for the food pantry. Some of the donations the food pantry is looking for are non-perishable groceries and toiletries, including toilet tissue, soap, cereal, tuna, peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti sauce, pasta, canned meats, black beans and soup.
Household items, school supplies and clothing are currently not able to be donated due to COVID-19.
More information on the Blessed Sacrament Food Pantry and requested donations can be found on the website. https://www.blessedsacramentbpt.org/food-pantry