Person-to-Person’s Quest to End Poverty in Stamford

above: Person to Person provided camperships to 300 Stamford Public Schools students in the summer of 2023

Inside Person to Person’s efforts to end poverty in Stamford

In the quiet corners of tony Fairfield County, poverty hides its face—impacting tens of thousands of individuals and families who struggle in the shadows. Amidst this backdrop, Person to Person (P2P) stands as a beacon of hope and a steadfast support system for our most vulnerable neighbors. Through a comprehensive range of services, including providing healthy food, clothing, housing assistance and pathways to economic empowerment, the organization has been instrumental in transforming lives and fostering stability for more than 28,000 people annually.

CEO Nancy Coughlin and Stamford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero at the Transforming Lives luncheon in October

“The existence of poverty in our own backyard has very real consequences for those directly affected, but also for all of us,” says Nancy Coughlin, CEO of Person to Person. “At the core of its mission, Person to Person embodies the spirit of community, offering a lifeline to those in need.”

Sixty percent of P2P’s clientele comes from Stamford, which amounted to 16,684 residents last year. The organization maintains three full-time food pantries in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford. Of the 2.6 million meals they’ve served over the years, 58 percent have been to residents here. Emergency financial aid, including rent support and security deposits, is also vital to their clients.

Darien Assistant Site Manager David Garcia

Efforts to feed the hungry, prevent homelessness and help families create a sense of security is more urgent than ever. “The compounding effects of pandemic-related debt, particularly medical debt, alongside high housing costs and inflation, have left families scrambling to put food on the table,” Coughlin says. “Children deprived of access to nutritious food suffer academically, socially and physically.”

P2P campers enjoying crafts

According to Coughlin, 12 percent of people in Fairfield County are food insecure, including 26,200 children. As public assistance has declined over the years, private organizations have stepped up. Today, P2P alone relies on hundreds of volunteers donating 75,000 hours of service each year.

volunteer Chris Hickey at the clothing center

“There are many reasons we all should care about ending poverty,” says Coughlin. “It is the greatest social determinant of health, and there are very real costs to society associated with an unhealthy population that lacks access to nutritious foods. It puts stress on our educators, our social services and our justice system.”

Darien Assistant Site Manager David Garcia; Russian-speaking volunteers organizing food for Ukranian refugees living in Stamford

In order to continue the important work of fostering a more stable, resilient and prosperous community at large, Person to Person is hosting its third annual spring fundraiser, Rock N’ Raise, on April 4 at The Loading Dock. The event promises to be a fun evening featuring live music by The Nerds, auction, paddle raise and an overview of P2P’s mission-driven programs, which includes the launch of a second mobile food pantry and the expansion of its Financial Opportunity Center.

volunteer Christopher Rogalin

“Freeing people from poverty will allow them to reach their full potential,” says Coughlin. “And we need people to reach their full potential—to be artists and astronomers, entrepreneurs and inventors. We need all the smart minds we have to be focused on solving the world’s problems, and in order to have that, we need to solve the problem of poverty.”

To buy tickets for Rock N’ Raise and to learn more about Person to Person, visit p2phelps.org


Stamford Success Story

Katerine Gonzalez speaks at the Transforming Lives luncheon in October.

P2P’s initiatives—including camperships for more than 300 Stamford Public Schools students and scholarships for nearly 100 first-generation learners in 2023—empower young people to aspire to greater heights, fostering future leaders and create lasting memories. AITE graduate and current UCONN junior, Katerine Gonzalez embodies the impact of these programs. At the P2P luncheon in October she shared her experience as a client.

“I am extremely grateful to Person to Person for being there for my family for the past 18 years,” says Gonzalez. “From shopping at their clothing center to being in their campership program and eventually receiving a scholarship, their generosity not only helps alleviate the financial burden, but also empowers me to focus on my academic career and future aspirations. Their belief in me has pushed me to become a better person and have confidence in my abilities to persevere.”

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