Connecticut Community Foundation

Homeless In A Pandemic

Matt O'Toole on Easter morning with all his possessions.

Story and Photographs by John Murray

   Matt O’Toole sat outside the largest homeless shelter in Connecticut wondering how he was going to spend the next 10 hours. It was Easter Sunday and it was cold and raw outside. The St. Vincent DePaul Shelter in the South End of Waterbury boots all single men out of the facility every morning at 7 am, and O’Toole couldn’t get back in until 5 pm.

   O’Toole has been homeless off and on for much of the past year. “I made bad decisions,” O’Toole said. “Most of us in here have made a lot of bad decisions. I had an addiction problem.”

Looking for positive news? Check this out ....

It has been three weeks since Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury launched the COVID-19 Response Fund and it has already provided more than $180,000 for area soup kitchens, emergency food pantries, extra food and supplies at emergency shelters, food deliveries for seniors and families sheltering in place, and child-care services for frontline healthcare workers.

The fund is fueled by the Connecticut Community Foundation, the United Way of Greater Waterbury, and by donations and gifts from the community.

Free "Live Well with Diabetes" Workshops

Start the New Year off right at the Waterbury Senior Center with a free, interactive six-week Live Well with Diabetes workshop! This program helps people with diabetes or prediabetes and their family members or caregivers learn new skills to help manage diabetes. The workshop takes place at the Waterbury Senior Center at 1985 East Main Street on Monday mornings, Jan. 6, 13 and 27 and Feb. 3, 10 and 24, from 9:30-12. Participants will learn about healthy eating, being active, blood sugar goals, how to treat low blood sugar, taking medications, communicating with healthcare providers, basic foot care, and sick day guidelines. Other topics include creating sample menus, learning about stress management and difficult emotions, developing action plans and avoiding complications.

Destroying The Chains Creates 2nd Chances

Salena Dunbar, Shawn Gaston, and Calvin Dunbar of Destroying The Chains share their work to help people rebuild their lives after leaving prison. Photo courtesy of Silas Bronson Library

A grant from Connecticut Community Foundation is helping “Destroying The Chains” -- to lift the burdens of criminal records, and make employment reachable. 

1st Executive Director Named for Health Partnership

On February 6th, local non-profit collaborative, Greater Waterbury Health Partnership (GWHP), began the new year by appointing the first Executive Director after a search conducted in the fall.   Angie Matthis, formerly of the Greater Waterbury YMCA, is now serving in the much-awaited position and has hit the ground running. Angie has over 12 years of experience working in health and human services in Greater Waterbury, most notably working in the onboarding of chronic disease programming, securing funding and operational leadership.  Originally from the Midwest, Angie brings a strong marketing and development background to the Partnership as well as a track record of excellence in project management and program scaling and dissemination.  

Wine & Beer Tasting to Benefit WARC

Diamond Sponsor Post University, in conjunction with several other generous local businesses, presents The Waterbury ARC’s Annual Wine & Beer-Tasting Fundraiser and Auction, on Wednesday, June 5th from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Grand Oak Villa Banquet Facility, 550 Sylvan Lake Road in Watertown.