WESTPORT, Conn. – The shelves at the Gillespie Center food pantry in Westport will be fully stocked thanks to a $5,000 donation from the organizers of the Slice of Saugatuck Festival, an annual food, wine and retail experience that celebrates Saugatuck.
The money was raised during this year’s festival, held on Sept. 15, through ticket sales, merchant participation fees and sponsorships, said Matthew Mandell, festival founder and organizer.
“The concept of food at the festival and food for those who can't afford it is a win-win for our community,” Mandell said in a statement. “Being able to donate these proceeds from the festival is a pleasure."
This year’s event, the second annual festival, is estimated to have drawn between 2,500 and 3,000 people, Mandell said. A total of 48 Saugatuck merchants participated, up from 36 in the first year, he said.
A $5,000 check was presented Thursday to Homes With Hope, a Westport-based nonprofit that runs the food pantry, and provides supportive housing and services to the homeless.
"We are very excited to get this support for the hundreds of people who come to the food pantry each year," Homes with Hope President and CEO Jeff Wieser said. “It’s going to help a lot during some lean times over the next number of months— and we always have lean times— so it’s really a great benefit."
The food pantry, open to all those in need, is located at the Gillespie Center, an emergency shelter on Jesup Road.