Food pantries in need

this holiday season

To the Editor:

It's this time of year, when the leaves have fallen and the holidays are approaching, that we take time out of our lives to reflect on what we have and are thankful for. We're privileged to live in a community where most are able to feed and shelter their families and sometimes we can take that for granted. We can forget to appreciate not only what we have but also that one of the most rewarding pleasures is giving, and our ability to do so is something we should be grateful for as well.

There are families that struggle in our community. The St. Marks food pantry serves around 160 people with donated groceries every two weeks. Person-to-Person in Darien and Christian Community Action in Norwalk both have food pantries available to the residents of New Canaan. The Lower Fairfield County Food Bank also serves New Canaan residents with food that is donated or low-cost.

Unfortunately, these pantries are often running low on supplies. The Lower Fairfield County Food Bank has yet to reach the number of turkeys set as its goal, and while these shelters could use our help now, it's also important to remember that donations are at their highest around the holidays.

Once the bustle of November and December has ebbed, donations slow considerably. It is important that we continue to take the opportunity to give throughout the year, because need doesn't decrease when the flow of supplies does. If we all took the time each month to be thankful for what we have, and used the ways in which we're able to reach out to those in need, we could make a significant difference in the current trend of giving. Making the effort to donate something goes a long way towards helping people and enriches our own lives as well, making Thanksgiving a yearlong celebration.

Elizabeth Kilbride,

NCHS Junior

Youth Adult Partnership Board

NCCF needs

your donations

To the Editor:

My family donates annually to the New Canaan Community Foundation because we know the needs in the community are great, and also because we are confident that the best use of our contributions is being watched over by the dedicated board and staff with broad expertise and insight. The foundation grants are being directed to those local organizations where they can have the most positive impact.

The Community Foundation relies on an annual fund drive to support their grant-making work. This year's effort is in full swing, and I urge anyone reading this letter who has yet to give, to make a note to do so straight away. If you have any questions regarding how to proceed, please call 203-966-0231 or visit www.newcanaancf.org .

It was only last year that the former United Way of New Canaan merged into the Community Foundation, which now carries on the legacy of that work via the Foundation's Neighbors United program.

In 2010, the overall work of the foundation supported 64 non-profit organizations with $750,000 in grants. These grants helped meet the educational, health, social, recreational, cultural and human services needs of our community.

During the last two years, I have had the pleasure of serving on the foundation's fundraising committee. This year, our primary goal is to increase participation -- at whatever level of giving an individual family might find comfortable.

Please join me in becoming a partner in improving our community for both today and tomorrow.

Bob Seelert

New Canaan

NCCF luncheon a success

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the New Canaan Community Foundation, we would like to thank all those who attended and supported our sixth annual Philanthropy Luncheon held Nov. 18 at Woodway Country Club. The proceeds from the event benefit the Young Philanthropists Fund at NCCF.

We were privileged to have Claire Gaudiani, former president of Connecticut College and currently an adjunct professor in philanthropy at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, speak about the synergy of capitalism and philanthropy, and the relationship between generosity and economic prosperity.

Co-president of the Young Philanthropists Fund Steering Committee, Nicola Scandiffio addressed the audience and noted "YPF gives high school students, with a youth perspective on their town, the ability to effect change where they see problems. With much optimism I look toward the future, because I can say with confidence that the work we do today will lead to a better community tomorrow."

We are especially indebted to our corporate sponsors, US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management, a Bank of America Corporation, as our Gold Level Sponsors; Hawthorne, Ackerly & Dorrance, Long Meadow Investors and Robinson & Cole as our Silver level sponsors; and Bank of New Canaan, BlumShapiro, Harrigan Insurance and HTG investment Advisors as our Bronze level sponsors.

We would also like to recognize our honorary chairman, Judy Bentley, and our hard-working committee: Meghan Allen; Nancy Baer; Christine Betack; Eileen Boyd; Jennifer Bretl; Cindy Charas; Alexandra DeMarino; Diana Ferguson; Joellen Ford; Polly Goodyear; Julianne Grace; Diane Hanauer; Wendy Hurst; Lori Kelly; and Tracy Merrill.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge Springdale Florists for the use of their work space for our decorating committee and for their professional assistance and delivery of our centerpieces.

Lisa Wrenn

Lindsey Heron

Co-Chairmen

Weighing in on

underage drinking

To the Editor:

The article about the drinking age debate at Fairfield University forum [www.newcanaannewsonline.com] was of great interest to me. You see, I am currently a freshman, 19, at Fairfield University, and after seeing all the different points of view this issue, I can formally share my opinion on the issue.

As of right now, this is how I see the situation. Partaking in underage drinking has become the norm. Come the weekend, people scatter, doors close and the underground drinking begins. We now live in a culture where binge drinking is a weekend ritual performed behind locked doors, which has led to dangerous, compromising situations.

However, I do believe there is a way to bring drinking out of the shadows into a safer, out in the open environment. Simply, lower the drinking age to 18. I think this would be more effective than trying to enforce a law that just isn't working out. I'm not naïve enough to think that this would be an immediate turn around in our drinking culture, but if 18- to 20-year-olds were allowed to drink openly, then slowly, it would reverse the effects of binge drinking in secrecy.

Though, those who oppose lowering the drinking make claims of more problems arising. Like lowering the age could create a trickle-down effect where an 18-year-old could provide alcohol for 16-year-old or younger. However, if someone would offer alcohol to a minor, there is obviously something wrong with them. I would never do that for my younger sibling -- that would be sick.

Both sides can make just as good arguments, but to me, lowering the drinking age seems like the best solution. It would not fix the problem of drinking dangerously -- aka "binge-drinking" -- right away. Rather, it would bring drinking into the light to be better observed. I won't lie, a trickle-down effect and other problems are possible, but lowering the age looks like the best option. If not that, then what? Nothing else has really panned out, enforcing doesn't work. The current age just isn't working and until the drinking age is lowered, we will never know the actual effects of it. This isn't 1984 anymore, things have changed, and the law has to be changed to keep up with the times.

John Paul Benedetti

Fairfield University

Class of 2014