FAIRFIELD — A group of residents will be hosting a food drive to benefit a local charity this Saturday, making it the 21st collection since March.

Alexis Harrison, one of the organizers, said the event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Operation Hope building, at 636 Old Post Rd. All donations will benefit the Operation Hope food pantry.

Harrison said donations can be dropped off without participants getting out of their vehicles, adding mask use and social distancing is required. There will also be entertainment and treats.

“To add musical entertainment as people drop off food, Fairfield guitarist, personal chef and caterer, Daniel Trzcinski will be performing live music,” Harrison said. “In addition, SeaSalt Baking Co., a Fairfield-owned cookie company, will be selling individually wrapped cookies for sale, with all proceeds going to Operation Hope.”

Harrison said Operation Hope has seen more demand due to new financial realities for many residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and is serving 35 percent more families than originally expected throughout the fall and winter.

There will also be a competition between the students, athletes, parents and alumni from Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe high schools to keep the friendly cross-town rivalry alive.

“Each family or student who drops off food can write the name of their school on a bag or box, and whichever school with the most bags, wins the friendly competition,” she said.

Harrison said Andrew McKinnis, a long-time Operation Hope volunteer and junior at Ludlowe high school, is partnering with Helene Daly, Heather Dubrosky and herself on the drive. The three women have held 20 food drives in the community since the start of the pandemic in March, each benefiting local organizations such as Operation Hope.

Items that will be collected include: cash donations, grocery gift cards, stuffing, gravy, dried mashed potatoes, fried onions, canned vegetables (green beans, peas, corn, 14 oz cans preferable), canned fruit, canned chili & stew, Lysol spray/cleaning products, paper towels, condiments, canned tomatoes, macaroni and cheese, coffee, hot chocolate, peanut butter/jelly/honey, cereal/oatmeal, sugar and oil.

To donate online, go to: https://operationhopect.org/donate/