February 2021 News
Homeless Outreach Program

On these cold winter nights, HOH team members Janet Bermudez and Stephanie Boyce head out with a team in search of unsheltered people sleeping outside. They come across folks sleeping in tents, on the steps of churches, outside Wal-Mart, in abandoned buildings, and under bridges. They speak with the individuals they see, learning more about their stories and sharing with them information on where to go for food and shelter. They provide them with warm clothing, snacks, beverages, and find them a warm place to sleep indoors. The overarching goal is to ensure that everyone ultimately has a place to call home.
While much has been accomplished since the establishment of the Coordinated Access Network in Greater Hartford, the ability of our system to reach and engage people who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness remains a top system gap. This has resulted in insufficient coordination of available resources and missed opportunities to help people access support and services. Often this results in sustained homelessness, poor health, emotional and psychiatric distress, and even loss of life.

Hands On Hartford, the Wheeler Clinic, and the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition, with support from Journey Home, are working to address these gaps and help folks get into a home of their own through street outreach, engagement, and service/treatment connection. We are excited about this new collaborative program that will meet critical goals by bringing new staffing and peer resources to the work. Critical connections will be made with a variety of health, housing, financial, employment, treatment, basic need, and other services.

"I think the most important thing for me is re-establishing that human connection," said Stephanie recently. "Taking the time to connect, establish trust, meet each other heart to heart."

Huge thanks to Chloe Ewalt, host Karen Hinds, and performers Emily Bautista, Michael Dikegoros, Sasha Renae Brown, Shaila Murdock, Wanda Johnson, and Students from the Greater Hartford Academy of the (Performing) Arts program for the amazing virtual concert February 21 to benefit Hands On Hartford. And of course we are so grateful to everyone who made donations to support the folks we serve here at Hands On Hartford. If you missed it, it was live-streamed on Facebook and is still available to view at the Hands On Hartford Facebook page.
Faces of Homelessness
The Faces of Homelessness Speakers' Bureau recently shared lived experiences of homelessness on Zoom (don't you love this Zoom photo?) with the kids at RHAM Middle School, answering their thoughtful questions and engaging with them virtually. Thank you to our speakers and to Mr. Karl Jancis for welcoming us!

For more information about hosting your own virtual or in person event, contact gluxenberg@handsonhartford.org.
Faith In Action
First Presbyterian Church, Hartford, brought 1,660 pounds of food for folks who come to the MANNA Community Pantry, from their 2021 Souper Bowl of Caring event! Such an amazing gift and we are grateful, from the bottoms of our hearts, to everyone who participated. Thank you for your care for this community!
We are delighted to have been "adopted" by St. Peter Claver Church in West Hartford! Not only have they held some huge food drives for the MANNA Community Pantry over the last several months, they are donating hundreds of sandwiches once a month which are deeply appreciated by our MANNA Community Pantry guests and by folks we are connecting to through the homeless outreach program. Thank you all for your generosity and compassion.
Honoring Black History Month
Honoring Black History Month: HOH Shared Kitchen Member Amanda Powell is making her own history. "Two and a half years into following a vegan diet, I started GRDN KTCHN LLC because I was tired of being disappointed with not only the lack of well-seasoned vegan options, but also the absence of healthier, humane, plant-based versions of the types of foods I grew up eating," explains Amanda. "The short term goals of GRDN KTCHN LLC are to fill this void in the market by way of pop up restaurants, meal prep, and catering services. My ultimate goal is to open a brick and mortar vegan soul food restaurant." Find out about upcoming events at https://grdnktchn.square.site/
Fond Farewell
We gathered together (in a masked and socially distanced way) to bid a fond farewell to Luis who has worked as a custodian at HOH for the past five years. Luis is moving on but promises to continue to do his amazing volunteer gardening in the Hands On Hartford raised vegetable and herb gardens. We'll miss seeing him around the offices, but he'll still be a member of the extended HOH family.
Special Thanks
Look at all these hats! Sarah at Block21Prints generously offered this wonderful gift of "Be a Nice Human" hats - for every hat purchased by her customer, she donated one for Hands On Hartford and the folks we serve. She brought us 165 hats the other day, and she's still selling them! Thank you Sarah!
Get yours here:
Interested in Volunteering?
Bilingual Spanish MANNA volunteer receptionist needed!
  • Assist staff with answering phone calls and responding to voicemails
  • Pre-screen calls for neighborhood services and transfer to appropriate staff
  • Schedule and re-schedule food pantry appointments
  • Assist staff with data entry and other administrative tasks, as needed 
  • Ensure confidentiality of information regarding clients 

Ideally this is a long term volunteer commitment or a minimum of a 1 month commitment.

For more information on this opportunity or other upcoming volunteer opportunities, contact Jackie Kasinskas at volunteering@handsonhartford.org or call 860-706-1522
About Hands On Hartford
Hands On Hartford, in partnership with others, strengthens community in Hartford by responding faithfully to people in need through programs that change lives and renew human possibility.

We are committed to increasing food security and nutrition, improving health and providing housing while we engage volunteers and connect communities.
How Can I Help?

Go shopping! If you're an online amazon shopper, be sure to start your shopping at smile.amazon.com and select Hands On Hartford as your charity. That way .5% of eligible purchases will automatically go to Hands On Hartford.
Make a donation! You will be part of a network of donors, volunteers and staff who work together to provide food, housing and related services for families who are struggling to make ends meet. To make a financial donation, click "Donate Now" or mail your check to Hands On Hartford, 55 Bartholomew Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106. Our inkind donation wish-list is HERE

Or contact Kate Shafer at kshafer@handsonhartford.org for more in-kind donation ideas.
Request a matching donation from your employer! Many employers will match all or part of your donation - a great way to double your impact.

Add us to your estate plans. Contact Executive Director Barbara Shaw to explore planned giving ideas and to join our Legacy Society. bshaw@handsonhartford.org or 860-706-1502.

We are grateful for this amazing community and the love, caring, compassion and support we see every day.