Founded in part by former WPC Reverend David Graybill, the Wilton Interfaith Action Committee (“Wi-ACT”) was established to bring together people from all walks of faith to serve the greater community.
WPC has supported Wi-ACT in numerous endeavors, with members participating in various activities as well as financial donations.
Recent endeavors include Rise Against Hunger, refugee resettlement, and helping Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients receive vital medical care.
More About Wilton Interfaith Action Committee:
The Wilton Interfaith Action Committee (Wi-ACT: pronounced “we act” for our motto, “We act together for good”) has been in existence for a decade. It is a consortium of the congregants of ten Wilton faith institutions, Christian, Jewish and Muslim, governed by a 34-member Steering Committee with subcommittees divided into specific areas of responsibility for both its meal-packaging and its refugee resettlement work. It brings to its work a group of dedicated and highly professional volunteers with many relevant skill sets (e.g., in ESL).
Wi-ACT’s signature work is its annual meal-packaging event to feed hungry children wherever the need in the world is greatest, in educational settings in which the children served are nourished in mind as well as in body. It does this work in conjunction with top-rated nonprofit Rise Against Hunger.
Typically, 750 volunteers package 150,000-160,000 meals each year. The event is the largest Rise Against Hunger meal packaging effort in New England. Over the past 12 years, Wilton has packaged approximately 2 million meals. For its annual event that most recently took place, on Sat., Oct. 23, 2021, volunteers used strict COVID protocols in 90-minute shifts over that one day. With COVID and its impact on fundraising and volunteering, the goal for 2021 was lowered to package 50,000-90,000 individual meals – enough to feed 150-250 malnourished children for an entire year. Wi-ACT’s next meal-packaging event will be announced.
Wi-ACT also does other work, including for example assisting families who come to the U.S. from less developed countries on special short-term visas for their children suffering from otherwise fatal cystic fibrosis. These children are treated without charge by Steering Committee member Dr. Hossein Sadeghi, who is one of the most preeminent pediatric pulmonologists in the U.S. and is on the faculty at Columbia University Medical School and a physician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. This CF care is provided on an all-day outpatient basis extending over three weeks at Dr. Sadeghi’s clinic in Stamford. During that time, Wi-ACT provides food, lodging and transportation to and from the Stamford clinic for the child CF patient and the adult family member who accompanies him or her.
A half-dozen years ago, Wi-ACT partnered with a highly regarded nonprofit headquartered in New Haven, CT — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, Inc. — on refugee resettlement, providing temporary housing and much other transitional support for an Iraqi family whose adult members had worked for the U.S. Army in Iraq and were in grave danger if they remained there. The family has been living in Stamford for the past four years and is doing quite well. All now speak English well and are fully assimilated into American life. Their two young children are doing well in school. The husband managed a gas station for some time and is now doing well as an Uber driver.
Wi-ACT’s Steering Committee determined several years ago that, in light of the Syrian refugee crisis taking place at that time, that it would return to refugee resettlement work and received Manal, a young widowed mother with an 8th grade education who had been married at age 17 and never worked outside the home. She and her family came from refugee status in Jordan having escaped from Syria almost two years earlier. They spoke no English when they arrived. Since shortly after their arrival on March 10, 2016, all five children (aged 2 to 12) have been attending school, both Wilton public schools and a private pre-school, and Manal herself has been engaged in an intensive program of daily (six times a week) ESL in two hour classes plus three hours of homework. The family stayed in transitional housing furnished by the School Sisters of Notre Dame on their Wilton campus. Manal also engaged in extensive instruction in machine and hand sewing with the objective of being a low-income entrepreneur in the field of sewing work done in conjunction with interior decorators – a field for which there is a significant demand in this area. Her planned training includes both this instruction and an apprenticeship.