WESTPORT — People are being asked to lend a hand to “The Mitten Project,” an annual campaign organized by Earth Animal to benefit Connecticut Foodshare, a nonprofit that supports agencies fighting food insecurity across the state.

The Mitten Project, organized for a 16th year by Earth Animal, has a mission that “no one should face the agonizing choice between buying food and meeting other essential needs like housing and heating,” according to a statement from the business. Donations to Connecticut Foodshare are distributed to more than 480 food pantries, community kitchens and meal programs. 

The local store, 925 Post Road East, pledges to match “every dollar” donated during the campaign, which runs through Dec. 31.

The fundraiser begins with “Pumpkins for Good,” the sale of locally grown pumpkins and gourds through October at the store. All proceeds will directly benefit Connecticut Foodshare, according to organizers.

Later this year, Earth Animal will offer holiday-themed merchandise to benefit the Mitten Project, including ornaments, handmade fair-trade mittens and dog treat advent calendars. 

The Mitten Project also will feature “Shop and Give” specials planned in partnership with other area businesses, including: South Pine Creek Deli, Millie Raes, Bel Mondo, J McLaughlin, Element50, No. 299 Design Gallery, La Moda Fashions, The Post, Kelli and Crew, Scout and Molly’s Boutique, Mo’s Wine & Spirits, Athletic Shoe Factory, Outdoor Design Living and others. 

“For 16 years, the Mitten Project’s impact has been astounding. It’s become so popular and so big, we raised $53,000 in 2022,” Merritt Goldstein, co-owner of Earth Animal, said in a publicity statement. “Our goal this year is to reach $60,000 and I know, together, we will all rise to the occasion to help our neighbors once again.”