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County Food Bank Needs Donations as Holidays Near

STAMFORD, Conn. — The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County received 10,000 requests for turkeys for this Thanksgiving. But as of last week, it had only 1,000. It has made an emergency challenge to the community, requesting donations.

“It’s the lowest I have ever seen it,” Kate Lombardo , food bank’s executive director, said of the stock.

Lombardo said several factors have led to the shortage in the food bank this November. The economy has had a big impact, with more people in need than in previous years and fewer able to make donations because of the rising costs of food, she said.

Another factor is the crazy weather in recent months. With Hurricane Irene and the October nor’easter causing massive blackouts, people have thrown out spoiled food and restocked their own shelves before looking to help others, she said.

“People can’t give, and those that can are afraid to,” Lombardo said. “We’re now asking them not only to buy for themselves, but for their neighbors, too.”

The issue hits home for Lombardo, who remembers when her family lost their house to foreclosure in the 1960s. A man in the neighborhood came to their door with a box of food, so they could enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The gesture showed her that her family was still a part of the community and not outcasts because of the sign on their front yard.

“Imagine a fire that burnt down your home and your business in one day,” Lombardo said as tears began to fall and she explained how scary it is to be in need.

Nagi Osta, owner of Nagi Jewelers in Stamford, is helping the food bank by donating 310 turkeys — 10 for every year it has been open. He will also receive food and monetary donations at his store. He hopes to donate 1,000 turkeys before Thanksgiving .

“I feel the more I give, the more I get,” Osta said during a news conference at his store Monday afternoon.

The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to agencies and nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford and Wilton. It is located at 461 Glenbrook Road in Stamford.

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