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From the Director’s Desk:

I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones in good health and spirits.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, we are called to reflect on our blessings, as well as how we can open our hearts to those in need.

At the Thomas Merton Center, we are constantly reminded of the challenges our guests face on a daily basis. From putting healthy meals on the table, to having access to safe housing and quality healthcare, to simply staying warm on a cold night, our fellow neighbors struggle to reach the basic necessities of life that so many of us enjoy.

However, because of your faith in us, we are able to meet the needs of our guests with dignity and compassion. Your generosity allows us to fulfill the mission of the Thomas Merton Center. And for this, I am most grateful.

Please know that each morning when TMC opens its doors and welcomes our guests, we do so reflecting upon the support of our donors. You are providing more than a meal – you are giving hope to our brothers and sisters in need.

You are telling them they are loved.

I am thrilled to share that the Thomas Merton Family Center is expected to open its doors in the fall of 2023. Although the spirit of the Thomas Merton Center will not change, our new location will enable us to provide additional services to our guests. We continue to develop new partnerships and educational opportunities that will allow us to provide a hand-up to our guests and put them on a path to self-sufficiency.

This is certainly an exciting time to be part of the Thomas Merton Center mission!

– Bill Colson

Director of The Thomas Merton Center

Giving Hope to our Community this Holiday Season

Every dollar you donate will help put food on the plate of a person suffering from food insecurity this holiday season. Your donation will be even more impactful this year given the rising cost of food.

Text 22Friendsgiving to 41444 or give directly online by clicking this link.

The following letter was sent to TMC along with a generous donation:

Thomas Merton Center,

We are pleased to tell you that we raised money to donate to you. Knowing about homelessness is very sad, but knowing we did a little to help feels rewarding. When we were planning a lemonade stand, we knew other people needed money more than us and we wanted to help. So here we are writing this letter. Not only does it warm our hearts what you do but it inspires us. To raise the money makes us grateful for what we have. We can see that what you do is hard and amazing. When we were doing this we felt warm inside knowing what the cause was for.

Getting the opportunity to do this is fantastic. We have always wanted to do something like this. We hope that you can help as many people as you can. One person can make a whole difference. You are already doing that. You are appreciated for what you do. We know this is just a little but it is also just a start. You all are amazing!

Have a wonderful year!

Sincerely,
Emma P + Riley W

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

Thomas Merton Center would like to give a special acknowledgement to our faithful volunteers. We could not serve our guests without the army of volunteers who come every morning and afternoon to help us in countless capacities. From chopping, stirring, or serving food, our kitchen is humming with the sound of our volunteers working hard to put a hot, healthy and delicious meal on the plates of our guests.

Meanwhile downstairs, our volunteers are unloading, organizing, and restocking our pantry shelves or assisting clients with grocery shopping. From hosting bingo days, to compiling toiletry bags for our shower program, to coordinating t-shirt, coat and food drives, our volunteers work tirelessly to help us fulfill the Thomas Merton Center’s mission.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all our volunteers.We are incredibly blessed to have you part of the Merton family.

Alexandros is a First Generation American with Cypriot and Ecuadorean roots. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, he has worked in Education with a focus on preparing students for academic and professional success. A former HCC student himself, he has a strong belief that each student can reach their maximum potential when prepared and afforded opportunity.

Alexandros Valiantis

Jo is a graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. After college she worked at the Grand Hyatt New York in the Convention Services/Catering Department. Then she worked for nonprofit organizations such as American Thoracic Society, AICPA, and International Trademark Association as a Conference Manager. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom to 13 year old twins Emily and Michael and 7 year old Grace. She is a member of Assumption Church in Westport. She is passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community. She also belongs to National Charity League in Westport. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, traveling, and going to Broadway shows.
Jo Toolan

Lourdes is a daughter, wife, mother and grandmother who retired from Bridgeport Public Schools after serving 38.5 years as a paraprofessional, educator, and administrator. She volunteers to lead the Faith & Education Coalition of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference of Connecticut working with faith-based and community organizations to serve the community across the state. Her formal education consists of an Educational Leadership Sixth Year Professional Diploma and Master of Science in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Bridgeport. She holds the Intermediate Administration and Supervision (092), Grades 1-8 (004), Bilingual (009) certifications from the State of Connecticut. Although she services throughout the state, her passion is the Bridgeport community where she was raised, educated, and worships.
Lourdes Delgado

Wish List

Food Pantry & Kitchen
If you have any questions about making a donation from our wish list, please call 203-367-9036 and contact Aimee at Ext. 16 or Sabine at Ext. 15

Full size cereal boxes
Oatmeal (box of assorted flavors)
Apple sauce cups or fruit cups
Granola bars
Vegetable/canola oil
Spaghetti sauce in can (Ragu, Prego, etc.)
Pancake syrup (gallon or quart size)
Cookies (individual size packages)
Pretzels or chips (individual size packages)

Please do not donate expired items – thank you!

The Thomas Merton Center
43 Madison Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

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