The City of Bristol is hoping voters come to the polls on Election Day, November 6th with some change in their pocket, or a canned good item.
St. Vincent DePaul does not have sufficient funding to operate its Winter Overflow Shelter from December 1st through March 1st particularly on those nights that the Governor announces that the Extreme Cold Weather Protocol is in effect. Last year, over 1,800 households from Central Connecticut called 2-1-1 seeking emergency shelter or housing support during this same time period.
Over the summer, the city also saw a reduction in the number of soup kitchens when the Christian Fellowship Center closed their kitchen on Prospect Street, increasing the demand at Zion Lutheran and Salvation Army soup kitchens, as well as at the Brian’s Angels and Agape House drop-in centers.
The Mayor and City Council have been working with the various social service agencies since the summer to ensure that needs are met. “The City has created a response to this and is using the first week of November to raise awareness and provide a means for local residents to donate, stated Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “There will be barrels donated by the Bristol Post Office for food donations and a secure container in which cash or check donations made payable to St. Vincent DePaul may be placed. Volunteers will monitor the barrels throughout the day and bring items to the United Way for eventual disbursement to the local soup kitchens and food pantries.”
We have also enlisted the support of the United Way, as well as high school volunteers, various PTAs and Bristol Girl Scout Troops, who are selling cookies at various polling places to help us at the schools,” stated Councilman Josh Medeiros, liaison to the Youth & Community Services Department. “Other volunteers will also be helping throughout the day.”
Stock Our Shelters is the overall theme to get Bristol residents involved in solving a serious community issue this winter. “We have 35,000 registered voters in Bristol,” stated Democratic Registrar Kevin McCauley. “If we have an above 50% turnout and everyone donated one dollar that would go a long way to funding the overnight shelter.”
Republican Registrar Sharon Krawiecki confirmed with the Secretary of the State that this type of non-partisan activity is allowed. “We want to be very clear that this is a voluntary activity and will not interfere with the voting activities or in any way disrupt that process. It should also be noted that a donation is NOT required to gain entry to the voting area,” Krawiecki stated..
In addition to the November 6th Election Day activity, City Hall employees will conduct a Friday Dress Down fundraiser in November, where the funds will be given to St. Vincent DePaul. The United Way is also conducting its Joy of Sharing Food Drive where canned goods and non-perishable food items may be dropped off at their offices on November 7 & 8.
And, on November 9th and 10th, the Knights of Columbus will hold a “Yes We Can” 24 Hour Marathon canned good collection drive from 2pm on Friday to 2pm on Saturday at St. Gregory the Great Church at the corner of Maltby and Stafford Avenue.
All money collected will be designated to the Winter Overflow at St. Vincent DePaul. If additional funds are raised beyond that need, it will be distributed to the City of Bristol’s Department of Youth & Community Services, or gift cards and bus passes will be purchased.