Hot meals served by volunteers with heart

‘Dinner service’ is the term Shelter for the Homeless uses for serving the evening meal to homeless men from throughout lower Fairfield County. On a typical night, about 80 men rely on a hot, nutritious meal at Pacific House emergency men’s shelter in Stamford, and it is often prepared and served by a group of generous volunteers. Groups from churches, companies, schools and organizations who want to give back to the communities they live and work in are pitching in to make a difference.

“Throughout the year giving volunteers are impacting lives while they roll up their sleeves, prepare and serve a healthy meal to those who need it most,” said Rafael Pagan Jr., Executive Director of the shelter. “Pacific House Shelter is fortunate to have many business partners whose support and volunteerism enables us to provide homeless men with emergency shelter and meals while providing services that help them achieve independence. One premier example of this commitment to community is First Niagara Bank; in addition to providing generous monetary support, First Niagara Bank employees volunteer for dinner service on a regular basis.”

“Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization is a focus of our philanthropic giving,” said Diana Stile, Manager of First Niagara’s Springdale (Stamford) Branch and Chairperson of the bank’s Tristate Region Employee Volunteer Council. “We’ve partnered with Shelter for the Homeless because they are having sweeping impacts in the advancement of the homeless populations’ self-sufficiency, providing them with stable housing, and improving the quality of life for us all. Our employees have participated in dinner service on numerous occasions, and they always walk away feeling good about helping their community.”

In 2014, Pacific House provided more than 50,000 meals to its clients and has had the assistance of more than 500 volunteers providing 3,000 hours of volunteer support. “We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the individuals, organizations, businesses, schools and congregations that contribute to our ability to bring an end to homelessness. We know there is much more work to be done, and welcome the assistance of others who would like to participate. To learn more about taking part in dinner service, the Adopt-a Day program or about the organization itself, visit shelterforhomless.org or call 203-406-0017 today,” added Pagan Jr.

Pacific House emergency shelter provides a nutritious breakfast and dinner to homeless individuals from Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and Greenwich, 365 days each year. It provides clients with a safe place to sleep and a hot shower, and provides social services such as job training, counseling, medical screening, drug and alcohol recovery, and housing placement for both men and women. In addition, the organization acquires, renovates and manages deeply affordable housing so that formerly homeless individuals can continue their journey towards independence and contributing to the community in which they live.

About First Niagara

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 390 branches, $39 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,400 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For additional information on First Niagara, visit us at www.firstniagara.com, follow us on Twitter @FirstNiagara, or like us on Facebook at FirstNiagaraBank.

Deborah Lacroix of Yonkers, N.Y., Patrick Pelli of Stamford and Lakisha Grant of Bridgeport.

Deborah Lacroix of Yonkers, N.Y., Patrick Pelli of Stamford and Lakisha Grant of Bridgeport.

Standing left to right: Rita Little-Williams of Pacific House with First Niagara employees, Nora Gallegos of Bridgeport, Michelle Otis of Monroe, and Rosemond Joseph of Norwalk.

Standing left to right: Rita Little-Williams of Pacific House with First Niagara employees, Nora Gallegos of Bridgeport, Michelle Otis of Monroe, and Rosemond Joseph of Norwalk.

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