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Letter: Food Drive Leader Thanks Norwalk Voters

NORWALK, Conn. — The following letter was written by Diane Cece, coordinator of the Annual Norwalk Election Day Food Drive.

I'm pleased to report another successful year for the Annual Norwalk Election Day Food Drive! The weather was perfect and donations were hearty, despite tough economic times and expected lower voter turn out. Thank you, voters!

This year, our fourth, voters at all corners of the city contributed non-perishable food items to benefit the Norwalk Emergency Open Door Shelter Food Pantry. Executive Director Bill Okwuosa, along with managers Izora Ebron and Frank Concepcion, worked with our group to make this a success, and we thank them. Many thanks to their staff and drivers, Darryl Williams and Wanda Swinton, for meeting our volunteers Tuesday night to load the SUVs.

Each year we try to weigh or estimate the pounds of food, but it's difficult without scales. We will, however, continue our tradition of "bragging rights": though all the districts are once again winners for their community spirit, this year's standout polling sites were Rowayton, Fox Run and West Rocks schools.

Heartfelt thanks to our volunteers, who each picked at least one polling site for the day for 5:30 a.m. bin dropoffs through 8 p.m. food collection and a late evening to load the vans: Julie Burton (Rowayton), Maureen Cece (Ponus Ridge), Sherelle Harris (Fox Run, Columbus and Nathaniel Ely), Diane Lauricella (West Rocks and Tracey), Mary Oster (Nathan Hale) and Roy Wymss and Xaver Joseph (Brookside and Kendall). They genuinely care about the hungry and needy in Norwalk, and work enthusiastically on this event. Most have been with the drive since day one. When you see these folks about town, please thank them.

Thanks also to Norwalk's Registrars of Voters Karen Lyons Doyle and Stuart Wells for the information and support they provide, even during their busiest time of year.

A big thanks to Michael Case of the YMCA of Norwalk for once again allowing our 8:15 p.m. meet-up in their parking lot to load the SUVs.

We couldn't have collected any food at all without spreading the word, so thanks to The Coalition of Norwalk Neighborhood Associations, The Hour, The Norwalk Citizen, The Daily Norwalk, Norwalk Patch, East Norwalk Library and ENIA, and the Norwalk League of Women Voters. A special thanks to event co-founder Joanne Romano, whose community contacts and name recognition lend priceless support to this effort. Too many to list, but much appreciated are local businesses that post our fliers.

But most of all, and once again, thank you to the generous citizens of Norwalk who give so much! Food pantries continue to experience staggering increases in the need for assistance. Norwalk residents made a difference on election day by voting to help those who struggle most during these difficult times.

Already looking forward to the 5th Annual Norwalk Election Day Food Drive? Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, to donate or volunteer. In the meantime, thanks so very much to every one for casting a vote for compassion and again sending the message from Norwalkers: We know, we care, we help.

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