'I'm thrilled that it's coming back': Food pantry truck returns to Ridgefield

RIDGEFIELD — With a new process and new rules, the Connecticut Food Bank returned to St. Andrew’s Church on Friday after stopping for months due to the pandemic.

“This is the first time since the pandemic started that they’re coming back and my hope is that this will be the beginning of a return on a monthly basis,” Pastor Beth Anderson said.

The church has been the site for the food bank’s mobile food pantry for several years, coordinating the monthly food delivery with the Connecticut Food Bank and the town’s social services department. The distribution is open to anyone.

Volunteers gathered Friday to once again provide needed food to the community, though the process looked a bit different than in the past using a no-contact approach instead.

Each car was given a number with volunteers directing traffic. Recipients could not leave their car with and instead opened their trunk or rear seat and volunteers put the food in themselves.

The Food Bank can host up to 160 households or portions with no more than two portions allowed per car. Cars are turned away if numbers run out.

The food was delivered differently too, leading to Scout Troop 76, lending their hands, Anderson said.

Food was dropped off on pallets, leaving a lot of recyclable materials and garbage behind.

“Troop 76 is going to be here taking care of all of the material so that they’re recycled and things are being taken care of,” she said. “That’s a point of pride for them, they’re excited to be a part of the garbage and recycling clean up.”

Saint Andrew's Lutheran church member Ronald E. Gustafson said the church has been volunteering in this program for an extended period of time and is grateful to be able to again play a role in its renewal. He said he trusts those who seek benefits will realize an enhancement in the their lives and environment.

Others agreed.

“I’m thrilled that it’s coming back,” Anderson said.