October 30th, 2020
Bank of America’s Support Provides Vital PPE to Programs Providing Services to all of Fairfield County, as well as the Thousands of Clients in Need of Assistance
Fairfield, Connecticut – October – Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, one of the largest private social service providers in the state of Connecticut, received 12,000 masks from Bank of America. The aid continues an innovative partnership that has allowed the agency to provide meals to residents, served through local restaurants in Stamford and Bridgeport. Since the start of the coronavirus, protective personal equipment (PPE) supplies have been low and costs have been high, making it even more challenging for non-profit agencies like Catholic Charities to secure what is required to stay open for business. For an agency like Catholic Charities, closing because masks are not available is simply not an option.
This donation is part of a nationwide effort by Bank of America to immediately distribute nearly four million PPE masks to communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, including communities of color, and is connected to its $1 billion, four-year commitment of additional support to help local communities address economic and racial inequality accelerated by a global pandemic. This is in addition to the four million masks the company donated earlier this year in cities across the country.
“Bank of America is committed to working with local partners that keep our families, communities, clients, and teammates safe during the health crisis,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America. “Throughout the coronavirus, Bank of America has joined forces with local organizations to address families’ most basic needs. By supplying Catholic Charities with PPE, we’re able to help them further their mission and continue feeding families, safely, at the same time.”
“If we close, a single mother is unable to pick up groceries to feed her family. Homebound senior citizens do not receive their meals delivered to their home. A person experiencing a crisis related to depression or anxiety cannot connect with their therapist for counseling services,” said Executive Director Mike Donoghue. “Our services our vital in helping the most vulnerable populations in the communities throughout Fairfield County. We meet the most basic needs.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Catholic Charities’ programs and services have continued to thrive, but many required the vital PPE in order to remain open. The Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport remained open with a 30 – 40% increase in meal service provided through a grab and go format. The Morning Glory Breakfast Program in Danbury was closed, but provided 4,900 meals to homeless individuals who have been moved from shelters to the Super 8 Motel to ensure social distancing. Room to Grow Preschool in Norwalk reopened September 9th with 109 students in attendance. It was a state mandate for all students and teachers to wear masks throughout the day.
“The masks provided by Bank of America have been a blessing for our staff and clients,” said Bill Colson, Director of the Thomas Merton Center. “Many clients were unable to not only find masks, but they also could not afford them. They were at risk. This donation not only helped to protect staff while they served the clients, but it also helped the clients to stay safe while out in the public.”
Catholic Charities 36 programs provide services throughout Fairfield County. Combined, they serve over 10,000 individuals in Fairfield County, Connecticut each year.
Written by: Amy Zajac
Catholic Charities of Fairfield County Joins with Bank of America to Launch Innovative Restaurant Partnership in Stamford and Bridgeport
September 8th, 2020
Support Provides Double The Impact: Meals Purchased from Locally-Owned Restaurants Served to Those In Need at New Covenant Center and Thomas Merton Centers
Fairfield, Connecticut – September 7, 2020 – Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, the largest private social service provider in the state of Connecticut, received a grant from Bank of America to create an innovative meal partnership with local restaurants in Stamford and Bridgeport. The meals purchased supported the New Covenant Center and Thomas Merton Center, Catholic Charities’ partner centers that operate two large soup kitchens and food pantries in regions that were hit the hardest by the coronavirus. Not only does this partnership support locally owned Connecticut restaurants, but it put these delicious, locally-produced meals on the plates of those who are in need here throughout Fairfield County.
Before the coronavirus, Catholic Charities served over 1.3 million meals per year across the county through its soup kitchens, food pantries, and senior nutrition programs. Due to the ongoing health crisis, that number significantly increased by 300 percent. Catholic Charities used the grant from Bank of America to purchase food from local restaurants in Stamford and Bridgeport to serve at the soup kitchens at the New Covenant and Thomas Merton Centers. As so many businesses had to close during the state shutdown, supporting local restaurants is critical now more than ever, as capacity remains at 50% for indoor dining, and many restaurants have had to permanently shut their doors.
“As the coronavirus continues to impact our residents, it is extraordinary to witness Catholic Charities provide for our most vulnerable populations and support local businesses at the same time,” said Bill Tommins Southern Connecticut Market President for Bank of America. “At the onset of the coronavirus, Bank of America made a commitment to support vulnerable populations in the communities we serve. We are grateful that we can support organizations like Catholic Charities because they are so dedicated to helping those in need.”
“Working with Bank of America has been a blessing for our staff and guests. The project has allowed our guests to explore different food that they normally would not encounter. They truly enjoy it. Our staff loves engaging with the different restaurant owners and learning about their experiences and how they have been impacted by the pandemic, just as we have,” said Craig Adler, Director of the Thomas Merton Center.
The Stamford and Bridgeport restaurants that the New Covenant Center and Thomas Merton Center purchased food from includes the Parkway Diner, Michael’s Italian Restaurant, Seasons Eats, Sunshine Cuisine, The Original Vazzy’s, and Rohan’s Family Spice Restaurant. Combined, these restaurants helped the food centers provide over 1500 meals to local residents.
Johnny Vazzano, owner of The Original Vazzy’s understands that his customers are now facing financial hardships and is doing his best to help ease that burden by offering discounts and promotions, like The Family Meal Deal. The restaurant feels that being a part of the community and maintaining a spirit of giving is a vital part of what they do. Vazzy’s has always given back to the City of Bridgeport even before the pandemic and have been regular donors to the Thomas Merton Center. Johnny Vazzano and his staff believe that “we are all in this together.”
“This project was not only very beneficial to New Covenant Center, but it was also enlightening. Our staff was able to meet the owners of these wonderful restaurants and hear their stories of how they were impacted by COVID-19. This virus knows no boundaries. It impacted these businesses, our agency and most importantly the guests we serve. The project coordinated by Bank of America helped all of us,” said John Gutman, Executive Director of New Covenant Center.
Feeding Our Youngest Minds
August 26th, 2020
Innovative Restaurant Partnership
August 21st, 2020
Partnering to Feed the Hungry
August 21st, 2020