DANBURY— “When you are a homeless individual it’s very difficult to establish yourself and anticipate your daily needs during this life-changing event you are facing,” says Tamara Espinal, program coordinator of Morning Glory” Breakfast Program in Danbury.

That’s why she came up with the idea to try and make the daily lives of women easier by providing them with the simple necessities for self-care that most women take for granted.

Through Tamara’s Handbag Mission, Catholic Charities hopes to make homeless women’s lives a bit smoother when they are moving between temporary shelters by providing them with all the essentials (i.e. hair brush, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, hand and body lotion, under garments) in a handbag that can easily be carried with them. This can make their day less stressful and build self-esteem to create a positive outcome for the future.  

The agency is looking to the community and volunteers for help with this project. “Many women have old handbags in their closets that are not being used and are simply collecting dust. Any handbag or any shape or size will do,” states Espinal. “These can simply be filled with items on our wish list that will benefit someone in need and donated.”

On Spring Street at the Dorothy Day Hospitality House, Catholic Charities operates its Morning Glory Breakfast Program which serves hot and healthy meals to the hungry and homeless of the Danbury area. The agency made sure that the program is conveniently located to the homeless shelters so that the neediest in the area would be served a hot breakfast and provided with a safe and warm environment daily.

Morning Glory works in collaboration with other Danbury area agencies to provide education and referrals that assist with ending homelessness. Currently a multitude of agencies and programs use Morning Glory as a location to outreach to the hardest to access populations and to provide services with the hope of ending their homelessness. Morning Glory has served over 100,000 meals since opening in October of 2007. There is no cost associated with meals or engagement with agencies; guests are only asked to sign in when they arrive. All participation in services with visiting agencies and programs is voluntary.

While Morning Glory works hard to meet the needs of its clients, it appears that the work is never ending.

“As I’m in the kitchen serving clients on a daily basis, I see new people each day who are in need of attention as they are facing increasing challenges,” states Espinal.

Morning Glory also offers a mobile non-food pantry that provides items such as cleaning products, paper goods and hygiene products. The service is provided to participants of Catholic Charities’ other programs in Danbury as well. 

Catholic Charities serves over 700 residents of the greater Danbury area each month through its behavioral health clinic, Morning Glory Breakfast Program, Homeless Outreach Team, New Heights, Community Support Program and Family Loan Program.

 (For more information, contact Tamara Espinal at 203.349.2428 or [email protected].)