Community News: How do you social distance?

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The Rev. Kurt Huber, rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, found a creative way to see his parishioners' faces when giving his sermons on Facebook live.

MONROE, CT — The Rev. Kurt Huber, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, still stands at the lectern during services inside his church on Monroe Turnpike, even though the coronavirus pandemic limited him to live video streams on Facebook — and his efforts for normalcy don’t stop there.

The faces of his parishioners, captured in large glossy photos, look back at him from the pews. Huber said one of his parishioners suggested he do that amid social distancing efforts.

On June 21, depending on whether new cases and hospitalizations are decreasing, Huber is looking forward to seeing everyone in person once again.

“We’ll have an outdoor service on the green at 10 o’clock,” he said of the morning event, which will also be streamed live on Facebook for those who still want to stay home for health concerns.

A ‘Drive & Drop’ Food Collection

Newtown Savings Bank will accept nonperishable food donations to benefit local food pantries on Friday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to noon at all 14 branch locations.

There are two locations in Monroe, in Century Plaza, 535 Monroe Turnpike (Route 111), and in Clock Tower Square, 477 Main Street (Route 25).

Donors will be able to drive up to a designated area at each branch, and employee volunteers will remove donations from the trunk. All donations will be delivered to a food bank located in each branch town the following week.

“Our local food pantries are operating with limited hours and resources these days, but have greater demand than ever. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for our customers and members of the community to help stock the pantry shelves to help our neighbors in need,” said Ken Weinstein, Newtown Savings Bank president and CEO.

Nonperishable food items, personal items, pet food, and household supplies are needed. For a more comprehensive list, visit nsbonline.com/events. Call 800-461-0672 with any questions.

CFJ helps to nOURish Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, CT — The Center for Family Justice recently named nOURish Bridgeport, Inc., as its 2020 Partner of the Year for the organization’s innovative program connecting local victims of domestic violence to fresh, healthy groceries.

nOURish Bridgeport, which operates two food pantries in Bridgeport, has been providing food to domestic violence clients of The Center for Family Justice for the last five years through its Food for Family Justice program, which gives CFJ’s clients safe, confidential access to its food pantry on a weekly basis, so they can shop for themselves and their families as they work to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of domestic violence.

Each year, CFJ presents its Partner of the Year honor to a nonprofit or organization which works in formal partnership to support its clients impacted by domestic or sexual violence in the six local communities it serves. Last year, nOURish Bridgeport provided groceries to more than 600 CFJ clients, offering them provisions for thousands of meals.

At the height of the Covid-19 shelter-in-place orders, nOURish volunteers continued to offer these services to CFJ clients, providing home deliveries and pickup options to domestic violence survivors experiencing food insecurity.

The organization will formally receive its award at CFJ’s Annual Meeting, to be held virtually this year on Facebook (@Centerforfamilyjustice) on Thursday, June 25 at 6 p.m.

”To be able to eliminate food insecurity for our clients as they work toward self-sufficiency after the trauma of abuse is a true blessing for them,” said Debra A. Greenwood, president and CEO of The Center for Family Justice. “It’s also a gift for our staff to be able to work with such a generous and trusted partner to support our clients. We’re really thrilled to recognize nOURish Bridgeport for all they do for the victims and survivors we serve.”

The Rev. Sara Smith, senior pastor of United Congregational Church in Bridgeport, founded nOURish Bridgeport 10 years ago to address food insecurity in the area. Since then, its volunteer-powered team, who work under the direction of Food Pantry Director Aly Lake, has focused on providing healthy foods including fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, poultry and meats and pantry staples, in a welcoming environment where clients can shop for their families as they would in a supermarket.

“nOURish Bridgeport and I are proud to work with the CFJ to bring healing and hope — and food — to victims of domestic violence,” said Smith, president and CEO of nOURish Bridgeport. “The real heroes are the CFJ clients who take the groceries that nOURish provides and use that food to sustain, nurture and fuel their journey to safety, freedom and wholeness.”

Monroe residents collect food, toiletries for those in need

Aaron McGoldrick and Donald Casey Jr., both Masons and Monroe residents, recently joined fellow Masons from various lodges in performing a community service project.

Masons filled a van with food and toiletry donations at two collection sites: America-St. Johns Lodge No. 8 in Stratford and Ashlar-Aspetuck Lodge No. 142 in Easton.

The donations were delivered to the Connecticut Rescue Mission in Bridgeport, which provides meals, clothing, shelter and recovery services for people experiencing poverty, addiction and homelessness.

Pictured in the photo is, from left, McGoldrick, Mark Zuccerella, Ray Collette, Darrin Silhavy, Max Kalkstein and Casey.

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