Ten Minutes with Ceci Maher
Director of Person-to-Person (P2P)––providing for those in need
Ceci Maher worked as a buyer at Lord & Taylor and then attended graduate school at Columbia University, where she earned a Masters in Social Work. Maher was working as executive director of Horizon’s National Student Enrichment program in New Canaan when she heard of a job opening at Person-to-Person (P2P) and instantly knew it would be a good fit. “I wanted to help make an even bigger impact in the community where I grew up,” she says.
Why is P2P important?
We help to create stability for families, keeping families together by preventing evictions, helping with utilities, and to obtain safe housing. We provide clothes and food to over 26,000 people a year—10,000 of whom are children—which helps people who lack the resources to provide for their family’s basic needs despite working multiple jobs. We also offer opportunities for a brighter future through programs which help to prevent the academic “summer slide,” and by awarding college scholarships to students from low-income households.
What would readers be shocked to learn about communities in Fairfield County?
The statistics are sobering: 3.6 percent of Wilton residents, 4.3 of Westport residents, and 6.9 percent of Darien residents live in poverty. One in six children in Fairfield County is food insecure—they don’t know when or where their next meal is coming from. There are families with no food in the fridge, who need to choose between paying the rent or feeding their children.
What scares you?
Intolerance and our communities not taking care of those most in need.
What’s the biggest risk you ever took?
Going back to grad school with three small children at home.
What are you never without?
My iPhone. With it in hand I can work from anywhere.
Your favorite Wilton haunt?
My backyard, reading and gardening.
My first job as an assistant buyer in New York City. I spent the entire Christmas season behind the sales cases and on my knees refolding silk scarves.
What do you find special about Wilton?
People are kind. They care about others, about the quality of schools, and about preserving the natural environment. Wiltonians love to volunteer.
What is your favorite food? Least favorite?
My favorite food is grilled steak, my least favorite food is lima beans!
Who is the person you would most want to meet?
I would love to meet Pope Francis to talk about our work here at P2P. I think he would understand what we’re trying to achieve and be pleased.
Tell us something that most people wouldn’t know about you.
In college I was a hippie. In 1976 I helped start Earth Foods, a vegetarian restaurant on UMASS’s campus. It is still open today.
Anything special you would like us to know?
My father-in-law was the board-of-education chairman in Wilton when the town held the contentious vote to build the new high school. My mother-in-law danced on the Merritt Parkway in Wilton before it opened.