TORRINGTON — Coats are needed for the sixth annual Rally to End Hunger and Homelessness in NWCT, which will take on a new format due to the coronavirus.
This year, FISH/Friends in Service to Humanity of NWCT and Joseph’s House will co-sponsor the annual Coat Giveaway event. Last year, more than 1,000 coats were distributed.
Deirdre DiCara, FISH NWCT Executive Director, is asking community residents to check their closets for potential donations. Coats are being collected until Nov. 17 at two locations: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where coats should be left in plastic bags outside the door at 837 Charles St., and at the back door of St. Francis Church’s office at St. John the Great Parish, 160 Main St.
People in need of a coat may drop by Joseph’s House, 116 Water Street, from 12-4 p.m. Nov. 20, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 21.
“Due to the pandemic we have hesitated (with planning the Rally to End Hunger and Homelessness),” DiCara said. “I have found a wonderful partner for this year —Joseph's House and Joe Mazzarella, executive director, assisted by young members of the Life Church in Torrington. At the two-day event, all (are asked to) wear masks and socially distance, controlling spacing as people wait and enter. We know we need to serve those in need of coats as winter approaches.”
Due to the pandemic, the usual other rally activities, which included an open house at FISH and the Gathering Place, free lunch, and the cardboard box sleep-out, are suspended till 2021, Dicara said.
Rather than an in-person awareness presentation by providers, which was usually held during the lunch, a brochure will be given to all attending the coat giveaway, describing the services of the FISH NWCT Food Pantry and Shelter, the United Way of NWCT and 211, the Gathering Place drop-in center for the homeless, Mental Health Connecticut, EdAdvance, the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, NCCC, and the Family Development Center of New Opportunities.
“It is hoped that the event will bring insight as to how community residents may help to impact and positively change lives for the hungry and the homeless of our NWCT corner,” DiCara said.
The annual event, timed in concert with the National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, is held the week before Thanksgiving, “so that we may all reflect about what we are thankful for, and make it the perfect time to share compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing economic crisis and desperate need,” DiCara said. “It is hoped, especially during this global COVID-19 crisis, that the greater NWCT community will take positive actions to eradicate homelessness and hunger. We can make change in our NWCT corner.”
To reach FISH NWCT, call 860-482-7300.