timberland flip flops Homeless Line Up For Hot Meals On Day Of Sharing And Caring
In a year of fiscal gridlock and belt tightening, a group of social service advocates has mobilized to address a growing need in the capital city.
Volunteers piled meat and vegetables high onto paper plates, handed out steaming cups of coffee and assembled bags of toiletries Thursday for the homeless and other struggling visitors at Hartford’s Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry.
The four month delay in adopting a state budget left social service providers without the typical funding for their efforts, and cuts at the city level also posed challenges for aid groups.
“One good thing about these difficult times is that average people are understanding more about how challenging it is,” said Barbara Shaw, executive director of Hands on Hartford, which ran the free meal with Journey Home and other local groups.
“This last year has been especially challenging, with the state budget and Hartford being where it’s at. People are recognizing the need and they’re reaching deeper.”
Homeless people from Hartford and the region streamed into the ministry center, greeted by smiling helpers who gave out toothbrushes, soap and shampoo. Visitors also walked away with gloves,
blankets and hats.
“It makes you feel like you’re worthwhile,” said Joseph Edwards, 28, who lives at the ImmaCare Shelter on Hungerford Street.
People are recognizing the need and they’re reaching deeper.
Barbara Shaw, Hands on Hartford
Edwards cradled a cup of coffee and held a raffle ticket, hoping to score one of the gift cards up for grabs Thursday.
“It makes you feel important,” he said. “It helps you to not give up.”
Bear’s Smokehouse Barbecue and Salute donated pulled pork, chicken and desserts, and Hands on Hartford supplied vats of beans and pasta. Rolls and cornbread were passed around.
Chino Photoathmavong found a welcome refuge from the streets, where he typically lays his head. He lit up at the suggestion of free socks and winter accessories.