New Covenant House featured at Dinner with a Cause

From left, Brian Jenkins, Betsy Parker, chair of Social Justice Committee, Alexis Bedos, speaker coordinator, and Paul Harinstein of Catholic Charities.

From left, Brian Jenkins, Betsy Parker, chair of Social Justice Committee, Alexis Bedos, speaker coordinator, and Paul Harinstein of Catholic Charities.

New Covenant House, aka the soup kitchen, was featured during St. Catherine of Sienna’s Dinner with a Cause event in Greenwich on Thursday, Sept. 18.

NCH Director Brian Jenkins shared his own story of a roller coaster ride from middle class upbringing to early marriage, a child, divorce, the early death of his mother, and the slide into alcohol, cocaine addiction, bankruptcy, and homelessness.

His slow creep back to normalcy began in a soup kitchen, at the Thomas Merton Center, where a meal led to conversation, counseling, a 30-day treatment period, prayer, and recovery. Eventually he made it back to college, on to a master’s degree, and just a few weeks ago, Dr. Jenkins received his doctorate.

New Covenant House provides primarily food for the body. The soup kitchen offers two hot meals Monday through Saturday and breakfast bags to 100 to 150 people daily. On Sundays it offers one meal at lunch and breakfast bags. The Sunday ministry is the one which many of St. Catherine’s parishioners support under the direction of Kathy DiGiovanna, who organizes the teams.

Further, NCH has a food pantry that supplements the food for 250 to 300 working poor families monthly. It also has an after-school hot meal program for about 250 children daily.

But this only addresses the next meal, it doesn’t cut to the core of the problem of poverty.

At NCH the objective is to create an environment that will help people solve some of the problems associated with poverty. For example, NCH encourages people to come in when they suspect they may be late with their rent, instead of waiting until it’s too late to come for help.

The organization wants to bring in life coaches to develop relationships with the guests so as to help them solve their problems. These objectives will be part of the new site under renovation. It is expected to be ready by next spring. The space will be tripled. It will include a “restaurant-style bistro,” a food pantry more like a grocery store, mail service, showers, etc.

NCH has a need for volunteers at many levels. It needs funds to complete the construction, volunteers to pick up and deliver food from Community Plates and other supporting businesses, volunteers to serve meals, etc. If you are interested in volunteer work at NCH, visit Nchstamford.org.

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