By Karla Santos
MERIDEN – The United Way of Meriden and Wallingford has been collecting personal care items for local food pantries during the organization’s Week of Action.
United Way is accepting donations through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., at its 35 Pleasant St. office. The effort began Monday.
Items such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and sunscreen will go to Master's Manna and Church of the Nazarene GLOW Food Pantry, both in Wallingford, along with New Opportunities and the Salvation Army, both in Meriden.
Julia Pelletier, United Way marketing and community outreach director, said United Way Worldwide started the Week of Action event 15 years ago.
Pelletier explained that it is up to each United Way office to choose the type of donations. For the past two years, the local United Way has been collecting personal care items.
“We’ve noticed that it’s harder for our pantries to get these kinds of items,” Pelletier said.
By the end of the day Tuesday, the local United Way had received a total of 305 personal care items. They hope to double that amount by the end of the week, Pelletier said.
This is the first time since the pandemic started that the United Way of Meriden and Wallingford is accepting donations in person. Pelletier said the community is welcome to mail-in or drop off donations any time of the year.
Judith Kupstis, of Meriden, became interested in helping the United Way with its Christmas donations a few years ago and had the “best time” shopping for children, she said.
Last year, she decided to also donate during the Week of Action because she feels the basic personal care items the United Way is seeking are taken for granted. On Monday, she dropped off shampoo, tooth paste, tooth brushes and hair combs.
Kupstis said that if everyone contributes “a little bit” the world would be a better place.
Gina Marcantonio, of Meriden, said the Week of Action is a great initiative. The overall economic situation prompted her to donate this week. She is also concerned that after the holidays donations to the needy might drop off.
For more information, call the United Way at (203)235-4403.