FAIRFIELD — A group of Fairfield citizens who started weekly community food drives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will hold its next community food and back-to-school drive Saturday.

Alexison Harrison said in a press release that the drive will run from from 10 a.m. to noon in front of the Berkshire Hathaway, 1583 Post Road. This is the 18th drive organized by Fairfield residents Helene Daly, Heather Dubrosky and Alexis Harrison.

Harrison said the women started the weekly food drives in response to the overwhelming demand that local food pantries and agencies were beginning to experience following the increase of COVID-19 cases in the state. Operation Hope in Fairfield is serving 35 percent more families now, an amount which is expected to continue throughout the summer and fall, she said.

With the new school year beginning soon and new financial realities for many families, Harrison said, the trio decided to turn their attention to collecting items for students.

“As teachers, students and families prepare for the new school year, we have to remember there are many children across our community who do not have the essential items to learn and succeed,” said Harrison. “We have a unique opportunity to help our vulnerable neighbors in need and to aid in the upcoming school year’s success.”

For school supplies, Harrison said, the drive is looking for a variety of items including spiral notebooks, highlighters, pens and pencils, cereal and granola bars, washable markers, crayons, hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, tissues, cereal, shelf-stable milk and juice boxes. She said they are also looking for toiletries including toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, soap, disposable razors and shaving cream.

Harrison said they also hope to receive donations of canned vegetables, canned tomatoes, condiments, and sides like boxed rice, dried potatoes, mac and cheese and stuffing. Additionally, she said, canned fruit, fruit cups, apple sauce, peanut butter, jelly or jam, crackers, canned chili and stew are preferred donations.

Finally, Harrison said they would like cleaning products including dish soap, sponges, laundry detergent, paper towels and Lysol spray as well as gift cards to local stores and brown paper bags.

To donate online, please go to: operationhopect.org/donate/now.