Paying It Forward

Paying It Forward

Sabine Kuczo with George Alberto as he donates over 160 boxes of cereal to the Thomas Merton Center.

George Alberto has been involved in his local community and been doing acts of charity for as long as he can remember. As a parishioner of Saint Patrick’s Parish in Bridgeport and a member of the Knights of Columbus for Council 4716, volunteering has been part of his weekly life especially since one of the directives of the Knights is to complete acts of charity.

He first started to assist the staff at the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport 15 years ago. Fellow parishioners of Saint Patrick’s Church, Larry and Sharon Jones, invited him to serve lunch with them at the Merton Center and George has continued to do so ever since. The group from Saint Patrick’s serves lunch at Merton the last Friday of every month. The Knights’ council that he serves on has also completed many works of charity with Merton, including food drives for the soup kitchen, preparing thanksgiving baskets, and simply making monetary donations.

These acts of charity are normal for George, who says, “I personally believe in paying it forward and assisting those in need. I also work with other local charities and institutions such as the Sisters of Charity, the Kennedy Center, Home of the Brave and Saint Catherine’s Academy.”

The volunteers from Realty One Group Connect in Monroe.

George has such strong beliefs about paying it forward that he introduced his co-workers at Realty One Group Connect in Monroe to the Thomas Merton Center. In May 2019, a team from the office lead by owners/brokers Chris Bacoulis and John McBride helped plan and plant a vegetable garden. They also spent time organizing clothes and toiletries. In July, George informed his colleagues that Merton was in need of breakfast cereal. In just under a month and with help from outside businesses such as Commerce Park Childrens’ Dentistry and Orthodontics, the group collected and delivered over 160 boxes of cereal.

The Thomas Merton Center is committed to providing a loving, safe and hope-filled community atmosphere, which responds to the needs of its guests. Through its Food Pantry, Merton provides close to 1,000 families with 10 days of food, which amounts to 30 meals once per month. The House of Hospitality serves breakfast and lunch daily to approximately 300 men, women and children. None of this would be possible without volunteers like George and the people from Realty One Group.

If you would like more information on how you could help the Thomas Merton Center, contact Sabine Kuczo at [email protected] or visit the Thomas Merton webpage at

Written by Amy Zajac

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