SHELTON — Two local organizations came together over the summer to raise more than $6,000 for five food pantries serving Shelton, Ansonia, Derby, Oxford and Seymour.

When the COVID-19 caused the local economy to shut down in early spring, the local pantries in the area immediately saw an increase in individuals needing their services, their administrators said. As people lost income and their jobs, and children were at home needing to be fed, putting food on the table became a challenge for many families in the region, they said.

By the time summer came around, the need was even greater for these families and pantries were scrambling to keep up.

Employees at Edgewell Personal Care, whose corporate office is in Shelton, reached out to the Valley United Way to find out how it could make a difference in the community, a press release said.

“The colleagues at Edgewell have always been extremely generous, and this opportunity was no exception,” said Cheryl Amicone of Edgewell, who led the campaign. “We are fortunate to be able to contribute to the community in which we work despite the obstacles and virtual world we live in right now.”

The pandemic’s limitations made a traditional food drive implausible, she said. But Valley United Way already had a system in place — thanks to an initiative by Prudential Financial — where individuals could donate online to buy much-needed food for the main pantries in the area: Ansonia Salvation Army, Christ Episcopal Church’s Kathleen Samela Memorial Food Bank in Ansonia, Seymour-Oxford Food Bank, Spooner House in Shelton and St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry in Derby.

Edgewell employees raised more than $3,000 for the pantries, a total that will be matched by the corporation. The funds are especially helpful in the bulk purchases from Bozzuto’s Inc. the pantries make each month — at a discounted rate — and ensures healthy staples are available to new community members needing their help, the press release said.

“Those struggling with food insecurity in our community rely on our local food pantries for assistance in meeting the nutritional needs of their families,” Susan Agamy, Spooner House executive director, said.

“The generous financial support of Edgewell and its employees enables our food pantries to obtain a wide range of healthy food choices for our clients, many of whom typically have less nutritious food options available to them and a higher incidence of nutrition-related health issues,” Agamy added.