BRIDGEPORT – The Thomas Merton Center recently wrapped up its spring virtual fundraiser – A Day in the Life of The Thomas Merton Center. Over $310,000 was raised with money still coming in. This event was in lieu of the center’s usual in-person Celebrity Breakfast but still brought out the Celebrities.
Hosted by Bridgeport native John Ratzenberger providing a voice over from Pixar Studios in California, the event does just what its title indicates. It follows a typical day in the life of TMC dealing with the complex issues of COVID while continuing to provide guests food and groceries. The event’s primary sponsor, Mark Kelly of Safety Marking, Inc. generously matched every dollar raise, helping the program reach its goal of $300,000. Other sponsors included Ridgefield Thrift, Aquarion and Bank of America. Many individuals went above and beyond to do on-line fundraising for the event which raised program awareness.
The video features staff, volunteers and guests of TMC. Kenneth Graham who was a guest, now gainfully employed and coming into TMC to volunteer his time in the kitchen preparing meals states “I found the staff would listen…..I feel like I should give back because they were here for me.” Yashira Cruz, who with her family of 4 not only utilizes the food panty but also helps out in the garden. As Yashira stated, “It is important to have these resources because without them I wouldn’t have….I’m trying not to cry…I don’t have family here, so to me they are my family and when I need help they’re there.”
The Thomas Merton Center is a program of Catholic Charities of Fairfield County which operates a day shelter that is the largest soup kitchen and the largest food pantry, the EatSmart Market Place, in Bridgeport. The program is committed to providing a loving, safe and hope-filled community atmosphere that responds to the needs of its guests and residents and respects the dignity of each person. The Thomas Merton Center reflects to the individual and the community our shared responsibility to love and support one another.