The number of needy families asking the town for help during the holiday season has soared more than 60 percent from a year ago, and Fairfield social-services officials are appealing to residents to donate gift cards to help those in need.

The town has a holiday tradition of providing gifts for needy families. This year, 115 families have registered for assistance -- up from 70 last year, according to Terry Giegengack, director of health and human services.

Under the program, town officials distribute donated gift cards to families for purchase of gifts, clothing, food, gasoline, personal services such as haircuts and entertainment such as movies and bowling

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HOW TO DONATE
Town officials ask potential donors to contact the Fairfield Social Services Department to discuss areas of need and the donor wishes before buying gift cards.
Call social worker Alicia Condon at 203-254-4538 Monday through between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.; email her at acondon@town.fairfield.ct.us, or visit the Social Services Department at the Fairfield Senior Center, 100 Mona Terrace.

Giegengack recommended donors purchase gift cards in $25 denominations but said any amount will be accepted.

She asked that people interested in donating contact the social services office to discuss areas of the greatest need and whether donors would like to contribute toward specific expenses, such as food or toys.

The department typically recommends donors buy gift cards at local supermarkets or gas stations or at area stores and malls where families would shop for clothing, gifts and toys. The department can recommend specific supermarkets and retailers.

The department also asks that donors provide receipts with gift cards in case there is a problem redeeming any card.

Giegengack attributed the increase in requests this year to outreach work her department did with organizations, such as Operation Hope and the Fairfield Counseling Center.

HOW TO DONATE

Town officials ask potential donors to contact the Fairfield Social Services Department to discuss areas of need and the donor wishes before buying gift cards.

Call social worker Alicia Condon at 203-254-4538 Monday through between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.; email her at acondon@town.fairfield.ct.us, or visit the Social Services Department at the Fairfield Senior Center, 100 Mona Terrace.