THE THOMAS MERTON CENTER was founded in 1974 by a group of concerned individuals who saw a need for services to the economically disadvantaged people in the city of Bridgeport. As the times have changed and the needs of the people we serve have changed we have developed programs that address issues such as housing, nutritional needs, healthcare needs, parenting issues and youth at risk.
The Thomas Merton House of Hospitality provides breakfast, lunch and day shelter to approximately 260 people each day Monday through Saturday. We serve about 85,000 meals a year. We also provide the following other services:
Support Groups – a safe, non-judgmental place for individuals to address the issues in their lives that may be barriers to self-sufficiency (i.e. abusive relationships, addiction problems, etc.)
Creative Groups – provide an opportunity for Merton guests to express themselves through writing and art.
Case Management – provides individual support for approximately 60 guests a month. We help them with budgeting, paying rent and teaching the value of saving money. We also help them obtain and manage state and federal benefits and connect with other social services.
Mail – We allow our guests to use the Center as their mailing address if they need a secure location to receive their mail.
Showers – Our guests are free to take showers every Monday and Thursday at the Center.
Eat Smart MarketPlace – our Food Pantry provides groceries for 5 days of nutritious meals per month for families and individuals living in the 06604, 06605, and 06606 zip codes in Bridgeport. We serve over 500 families per month! The emphasis of the pantry is providing healthy food to our guests, as currently 75% of the food we distribute is quality food rescued from local grocery stores; mostly fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy prepared foods that would have been thrown out due to a short shelf life, but are perfectly safe and OK to eat.
Our goals are:
- To provide healthy meals to everyone who visits our programs
- To expand our guests’ awareness of options available to them in order to live with the dignity they deserve
- To enable our guests to accept ownership of their individual problems
- To assist and encourage our guests in obtaining the services that can assist them in becoming more self-sufficient
- To give our guests opportunities to express themselves through participation in support groups and creative and art groups