January 2021 News
Thank You For Your Support!

At Hands On Hartford we are overflowing with gratitude for the incredible community support we saw over this past year for our Hartford neighbors living with housing and food insecurity. We're thrilled to report that over 1,000 new people joined us for the first time in making a financial gift to respond to the need. And that's on top of the many, many people who are already on our team supporting this work. What an amazing community this is - we are witnessing the power of all of these hands coming together for the good of us all. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Greater Hartford Jack and Jill MLK Day of Service
We were honored that Greater Hartford Jack and Jill chose to dedicate their efforts in giving back to the community by organizing a car parade food drive for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. All together, 47 families showed up that Monday with a total of 2,787 pounds (that's well over a ton!) of food and $900 in donations to support the MANNA Community Pantry - an amazing result!

We had a chance to talk to their members during the day to find out more about the organization. Jack and Jill of America is a national organization with 247 chapters. There are about 50 families who are members of the Greater Hartford Chapter. Jack and Jill is aimed at fostering youth leadership development among children from the African Diaspora in the United States. Their focus areas are education, civic engagement (both legislative and community service), health and recreation/social. From learning all about the world of finance, to their own cultural heritage, to engaging in projects to support their communities, the organization provides amazing opportunities for children, and also strengthens the communities in which they live.
We have worked with Greater Hartford Jack and Jill in the past as they have organized huge backpack packing events to provide nutritious food for the kids in our Backpack Nutrition Program, and have been impressed with the dedication, energy and generosity the families and their children have brought to the table. This year was no exception - young people unloaded cars, helped weigh food, and kept us all hopping.
We are so grateful for this support and look forward to seeing the Jack and Jill kids learn and grow as they turn into our future leaders.
Remembering Dan Arsenault
Hands On Hartford mourns the passing of our Board Member, Dan Arsenault, who died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve. Dan joined our board in December 2018 and over the past several years has been incredibly helpful to us in our government relations and in strategic thinking (and action) around the development of the 45 Bartholomew Avenue property - the old power plant. Although the funding for the Powerhouse Apartments has not yet gone forward, Dan was actively helping us with strategy planning up until days before his passing. We will be forever grateful for his assistance and skill, and his commitment to ensuring that all of our neighbors can enjoy stable lives and a safe, affordable place to call home. His dedication will inspire us to work even harder to make that dream a reality.

Please join us in remembering this incredible person and keeping Dan’s family and friends in your thoughts as we grieve this terribly sad loss. Going forward from here, we will all continue to think of and build on Dan’s commitment to our neighbors as we move forward in this new year.
Holiday Giving and Celebrations
Toy Shoppe

Our annual Toy Shoppe event in December looked a bit different this year due to COVID-19, yet the spirit of the event remained the same. Parents were still able to shop free of charge for holiday gifts for their children with a great selection of toys to choose from for every age group. Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers, including a great group from UCONN's Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Senoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority! In addition, a huge thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, including our lead sponsor and 28-year partner, Avon Old Farms, and also Cricket Wireless, First Church Simsbury, and Gengras Center School!
Christmas Day Community Meal

Here's the HOH team - with the help of our volunteers, who served 177 guests at the Christmas holiday meal this year with a delicious glazed ham dinner! Kids got toys and adults got blessing bags with gifts of warmth and other goodies. Our thanks go out to our friends at Dell EMC, Max Cares Foundation, and the Gengras Center for your gifts and donations! And thank you to everyone for sharing Christmas Day with our community.
New Years Day Community Meal

Happy New Year's 2021! Our New Year's Day meal consisted of BBQ beef brisket and lots more, with gift bags for all, and toys and books for kids! Huge thanks to all of our volunteers, to Max Cares Foundation and First Church Simsbury for sponsoring the meal and the gift bags. Great way to start a good new year.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day meal
We honored Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy with a special community meal - barbecued chicken, collard greens and mac&cheese, with Lyman Orchard apple pie donated by Hartford Hospital. And thanks to a special gift from Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, each of our guests received a bag containing gifts of warmth - socks, gloves, a hat, scarf and a towel. Thanks team and thanks to this beloved community.
Faith In Action

Our friends at Allen Chapel Hartford are amazing at putting their faith in action! They brought over 100 toiletry kits for our Community Meals guests and they packed gift bags for our New Year's Day guests! On top of that, they cook a meal here every other month. Thank you all for your love and care!
Rocky Hill Congregational Church hosted a Faces of Homelessness Speaking Event (on Zoom) in January and heard the compelling personal story of Pamela. Pamela speaks honestly and courageously about her lived experience with homelessness and her journey, and the audience was thoughtful and compassionate. Some of the comments we saw - "Thank you all for opening our eyes." "Thank you, Pamela! You are courageous and inspirational." "Thank you Pamela for your honest and authentic presentation."

For more information about hosting your own event, contact gluxenberg@handsonhartford.org.
Special Thanks
Huge thanks to the employees at the amazing American Eagle Financial Credit Union in East Hartford who recently donated $6,480.00 to Hands On Hartford from their Jeans Fridays fundraisers! Your support makes such a difference to the folks we serve.

For each one of these hats (several styles available) you purchase from Block21Prints in the month of January, they will donate one to Hands On Hartford. We are so grateful for this generous promotion!

The totally amazing Boy Scout Troop 156 in South Glastonbury collected an incredible 2,832 pounds of food from their neighbors for the MANNA Community Pantry! Huge thanks to everyone who donated and to the scouts for organizing, sorting, and checking expiration dates!
Interested in Volunteering?
Contact Jackie Kasinskas at volunteering@handsonhartford.org or call 860-706-1522 to learn more about upcoming opportunities!
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. .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.