News

Thomas Merton Center’s 25th Annual Celebrity Breakfast April 3rd, 2019

BRIDGEPORT—Located in a former church on Madison Avenue in Bridgeport, just a few blocks from St. Augustine Cathedral, you will find a fully functioning soup kitchen that has been feeding the hungry and the homeless Monday through Saturday for the past 45 years. On May 22, 2019, The Thomas Merton Center will host its 25th Annual Celebrity Breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Bridgeport. This event has been a longtime staple to the program and has featured such “celebrity” guests as Paul Miller, Bob Wright and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Anticipating the excitement surrounding the Silver Anniversary of the event, the Thomas Merton Center Board decided to feature two guest speakers this year—Jim Koplik and Howard Saffan.

Jim Koplik is currently the President of Live Nation Connecticut and a concert promoter who produces over 150 shows a year. Some of his prior productions include shows by The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, REO Speedwagon, Madonna, Billy Joel, and Elton John. Howard Saffan is a developer and CEO of Amphitheater, LLC. Saffan is a co-owner of Sports Center of Connecticut and The Rinks at Shelton in Shelton, CT. He is also the former President of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.

The Thomas Merton Center’s mission is to provide a loving, safe and hope-filled community atmosphere, which responds to the needs of its guests. The Thomas Merton Center helps those who cannot help themselves. Guests come to the program because of their invisibility to other social services. In addition to its soup kitchen which provides both breakfast and lunch to approximately 350 people per day, the services provided by The Thomas Merton Center include: a food pantry, support groups, case management, educational assistance, a shower program, health services, and a mail program.

According to Al Barber, President of Catholic Charities, “Thomas Merton said it best, ‘We do not exist for ourselves.’ Those words reflect the efforts, energy and contributions that support The Thomas Merton Center. The 25th Annual Celebrity Breakfast significantly supports the programs annual budget to provide meals and services to the most vulnerable population in Bridgeport.”

To register for the event or sponsor a table, please visit the event webpage at www.themertoncenter.org/events. For more information, contact Sabine Kuczo at [email protected] or 203.367.9036 ext. 15.

Click here for a pdf of a flyer for the event.

Written by Amy Zajac
As seen on the Fairfield County Catholic Website

Macy’s in Trumbull Supports Thomas Merton Center – Event Extended March 18th, 2019
Macy’s Trumbull is Supporting The Thomas Merton Center! Shop at Macy’s in the Westfield Trumbull Mall through April 9th. Shop and round up your purchase to the nearest dollar.
All proceeds will go to the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport to feed the hungry in our community.
Give to Us Through Catholic Charities on Fairfield Giving Day! February 27th, 2019

Tomorrow is the day to GIVE!

Giving Day is an exciting 24-hour online fundraising event to support nonprofit organizations across Fairfield County.

Sponsored by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and Bank of America, Giving Day 2019 kicks off  at the stroke of midnight. For the next 24 hours on that day, you can donate online as many times as you like to your favorite nonprofit, which we hope is Catholic Charities!

The money you donate will be used across all of our programs: New Covenant Center, Thomas Merton Center, Morning Glory Breakfast Program, Senior Nutrition Program, Room to Grow Preschool, Behavioral Health, Immigration Services and the Housing/Homeless Outreach Program. BUT, if you want your money to be designated to THE THOMAS MERTON CENTER on Giving Day you can!!! Simply add a NOTE that the donation is “FOR THE THOMAS MERTON CENTER”. Simply click here to go to our personal online donation page.

This year, our goal is $20,000. Can you help us get there?

Order of Malta are TMC Regulars February 21st, 2019

Volunteers from the Order of Malta with Sister Mandy.

Every 3rd Saturday a community of volunteers from the Order of Malta prepares and serves a hot, hearty breakfast to guests at Thomas Merton Center.  A lay religious Order of the Roman Catholic Church, the Order of Malta is dedicated to serving the sick and the poor.

The effort typically begins on Friday when members of the team stock the kitchen with the ingredients for a breakfast feast. Early on Saturday 12-15 volunteers arrive to prepare the popular menu of scrambled eggs with cheese, kielbasa, pancakes, fruit and juice.  Approximately 120 meals are served monthly amidst smiles and banter.  To top things off, there is always a call for “seconds!”


A Donation to Catholic Charities on Giving Day Means Giving to Thomas Merton Center February 8th, 2019

Let’s get ready to GIVE where we LIVE!

Giving Day is an exciting 24-hour online fundraising event to support nonprofit organizations across Fairfield County.

Sponsored by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and Bank of America, Giving Day 2019 kicks off three weeks from today on Thursday February 28 at the stroke of midnight. For the next 24 hours on that day, you can donate online as many times as you like to your favorite nonprofit, which we hope is Catholic Charities!

The money you donate will be used across all of our programs: New Covenant Center, Thomas Merton Center, Morning Glory Breakfast Program, Senior Nutrition Program, Room to Grow Preschool, Behavioral Health, Immigration Services and the Housing/Homeless Outreach Program. BUT, if you want your money to be designated to Thomas Merton Center on Giving Day, simply add a NOTE that the donation is “FOR THOMAS MERTON CENTER”.

This year, our goal is $20,000. Can you help us get there?

Charities Responds To Food Insecurity In The Area January 29th, 2019

BRIDGEPORT—In 2018, Catholic Charities provided 1,322,500 meals and it anticipates that this number will grow in 2019.

However, the recent government shutdown and the added demand put on food pantries has underscored the growing food insecurity of the poor, elderly and working families.

Al Barber, president of Catholic Charities, reports that the agency’s programs have broadened their ability to assist those in need, particularly during these difficult times.

The agency, sponsored by the diocese, has four major food service programs stationed in the core cities of Bridgeport, Stamford and Danbury, through which they feed the hungry, homeless, elderly and homebound.

“Our food service programs are open to those in need. This includes families recently impacted by the Federal Government shut down and those coming off of SNAP benefits,” Barber said.

Barber said the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport and New Covenant Center in Stamford both have soup kitchens open and ready to serve meals, as well as food pantries stocked with fresh produce and non-perishable items.

The Morning Glory Breakfast Program in Danbury provides a hot and healthy breakfast and is a great place to ask help locating other resources.”

John Gutman, executive director of New Covenant Center in Stamford, has already noticed a need for help.

“With an increase in the number of people being served, our stock is running low. Donations from outside groups is always beneficial and will help us get by and provide those in crisis with the most basic need—food.”

Gutman said that while New Covenant Center relies heavily on the assistance of Food Banks to stock their soup kitchens, but when it comes to filling their pantries it is outside donations that are the most helpful.

New Covenant Center in Stamford, which offers an expanded array of services to meet the basic needs of every guest, is currently celebrating its 40th Anniversary feeding the needy through its soup kitchen and food pantry.

In Bridgeport, The Thomas Merton Center is entering its 45th year of service. It provides breakfast, lunch and a day shelter to those in need who cannot help themselves.

Catholic Charities also serves the elderly through its Senior Nutrition Program, which provides meals to homebound seniors through their Meals on Wheels program as well as serving meals to the elderly at congregate food sites located in Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

In Danbury, Morning Glory Breakfast Program serves hot and healthy meals on a daily basis to the hungry and homeless in the Danbury area.

Combined, the Catholic Charities programs served a total 96,000 breakfasts, 185,000 lunches, and 74,000 dinners last year. The food pantries located at New Covenant Center in Stamford and The Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport welcomed 3,100 individuals to shop in 2018. The Senior Nutrition program delivered 72,500 meals to 180 seniors through their Meals on Wheels service and provided 63,000 lunches at eight senior centers.

“During a time of uncertainty and growing demand for resources, none of this could have been accomplished without the assistance of thousands of volunteers and the generosity of committed donors,” said Barber.

(Anyone interested in learning more about the Food Services of Catholic Charities can visit their website at www.ccfairfield.org. New Covenant Center has a website specific to its program at www.newcovenantcenter.org and The Thomas Merton Center’s website can be found at www.themertoncenter.org.)

As seen on the Diocese of Bridgeport website via Fairfield County Catholic.

2019 Thomas Merton Center Celebrity Breakfast January 23rd, 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
7:30 AM – 9 AM
The Holiday Inn
43 Madison Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Featuring Guest Speakers
Jim Koplik – President of Live Nation CT
&
Howard Saffan – Developer & CEO of Amphitheater, LLC

Merton Center Breakfast Serves a Packed Crowd June 13th, 2018

On May 24, 2018, The Thomas Merton Center’s Annual Celebrity Breakfast was held at the Holiday Inn in Bridgeport. The breakfast served a packed crowd of 250 people. Fairfield County Catholic reported on this successful event featuring former GE executive and Autism Speaks Co-Founder Bob Wright. Read the article in its entirety here.