RIDGEFIELD \u2014 Tony Phillips was disappointed that Ridgefield\u2019s mobile food pantry could not operate last year despite knowing the need was there, he said. On Friday, however, those needs were met yet again as the town hosted its second distribution event of 2021 in partnership with the Connecticut Food Bank. Phillips is the director of Ridgefield\u2019s Department of Social Services, which recently resumed the monthly program to bring fresh produce and canned goods to residents in Ridgefield, Danbury and other surrounding communities. \u201cIt\u2019s a different look and feel,\u201d Phillips said of the new set up, which is held at St. Andrew\u2019s Lutheran Church on Ivy Hill Road. Due to pandemic protocols, the Connecticut Food Bank drops off supplies in plastic-wrapped wood palettes as opposed to arriving in a refrigerated truck, leaving Ridgefield\u2019s volunteers to handle the clean up. \u201cIt\u2019s an expense for the church to hire a hauler and have their dumpster pulled,\u201d said volunteer Tiffany Carlson, \u201cso we attempted to make it as close to zero-waste as we could.\u201d Carlson is a member of the Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment, which educates residents on waste reduction and material management, and participates in the town\u2019s Organics Food Scraps program. \u201cRaising my children, I\u2019ve realized what a blessing this planet is, and we just have to do better,\u201d she said, \u201cand if I could do one piece in my community than I can look back without regret.\u201d With the reemergence of the mobile food pantry, Carlson has been charged with removing and sorting recyclable materials from the pile to ensure they\u2019re disposed of sustainably. In January, she and other volunteers recovered 60 pounds of organics \u2014 which was diverted from the waste stream to become compost \u2014 13 pounds of plastic film and repurposed the wood palettes for campfires, she said. Scout Troop 76 also assisted in the clean up. According to St. Andrew\u2019s Pastor Beth Anderson, \u201cBy the time they were done there were only a few items in the palm of [the troop leader\u2019s] hand that went into a garbage can \u2014 everything else was recycled.\u201d Additionally, Ridgefield\u2019s Meals on Wheels, the Danbury Grassroots Academy, Connecticut\u2019s Community Food Rescue ans Sustainable CT have partnered with the town\u2019s food pantry to ensure leftovers don\u2019t go to waste. \u201cWhatever I get I have to find a way to distribute it,\u201d Phillips explained. \u201cWe\u2019re very invested in bringing food to those who need it.\u201d \u201cThe beneficiaries have incredible gratitude, but for some people there\u2019s a level of confidentiality they prefer,\u201d Anderson added, \u201cand this is a site that really honors that.\u201d Interested residents can sign up to volunteer on the department\u2019s website (www.ridgefieldct.org\/social-services). For more information about the monthly mobile food pantry, visit Ridgefield Social Services on Facebook or call town hall at (203) 431-2777.