Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Charities responds to food insecurity in the area

BRIDGEPORT—In 2018, Catholic Charities provided 1,322,500 meals and it anticipates that this number will grow in 2019.

However, the recent government shutdown and the added demand put on food pantries has underscored the growing food insecurity of the poor, elderly and working families.

Al Barber, president of Catholic Charities, reports that the agency’s programs have broadened their ability to assist those in need, particularly during these difficult times.

The agency, sponsored by the diocese, has four major food service programs stationed in the core cities of Bridgeport, Stamford and Danbury, through which they feed the hungry, homeless, elderly and homebound.

“Our food service programs are open to those in need. This includes families recently impacted by the Federal Government shut down and those coming off of SNAP benefits,” Barber said.

Barber said the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport and New Covenant Center in Stamford both have soup kitchens open and ready to serve meals, as well as food pantries stocked with fresh produce and non-perishable items.

The Morning Glory Breakfast Program in Danbury provides a hot and healthy breakfast and is a great place to ask help locating other resources.”

John Gutman, executive director of New Covenant Center in Stamford, has already noticed a need for help.

“With an increase in the number of people being served, our stock is running low. Donations from outside groups is always beneficial and will help us get by and provide those in crisis with the most basic need—food.”

Guttman said that while New Covenant Center relies heavily on the assistance of Food Banks to stock their soup kitchens, but when it comes to filling their pantries it is outside donations that are the most helpful.

New Covenant Center in Stamford, which offers an expanded array of services to meet the basic needs of every guest, is currently celebrating its 40th Anniversary feeding the needy through its soup kitchen and food pantry.

In Bridgeport, The Thomas Merton Center is entering its 45th year of service. It provides breakfast, lunch and a day shelter to those in need who cannot help themselves.

Catholic Charities also serves the elderly through its Senior Nutrition Program, which provides meals to homebound seniors through their Meals on Wheels program as well as serving meals to the elderly at congregate food sites located in Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

In Danbury, Morning Glory Breakfast Program serves hot and healthy meals on a daily basis to the hungry and homeless in the Danbury area.

Combined, the Catholic Charities programs served a total 96,000 breakfasts, 185,000 lunches, and 74,000 dinners last year. The food pantries located at New Covenant Center in Stamford and The Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport welcomed 3,100 individuals to shop in 2018. The Senior Nutrition program delivered 72,500 meals to 180 seniors through their Meals on Wheels service and provided 63,000 lunches at eight senior centers.

“During a time of uncertainty and growing demand for resources, none of this could have been accomplished without the assistance of thousands of volunteers and the generosity of committed donors,” said Barber.

(Anyone interested in learning more about the Food Services of Catholic Charities can visit their website at www.ccfairfield.org. New Covenant Center has a website specific to its program at www.newcovenantcenter.org and The Thomas Merton Center’s website can be found at www.themertoncenter.org.)