The City of Bristol is hoping voters will again participate with the City's Stock our Shelters initiative on Election Day, November 5th to support the winter operations for the city's most vulnerable populations.
The Mayor and City Council have been working with the various social service agencies to ensure that needs are met. "The City has created a response to this and is using the first week of November to raise awareness and provide a means for local residents to donate, stated Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. "There will be barrels donated by the Bristol Post Office for food donations and a secure container in which cash or check donations made payable to United Way may be placed. Volunteers will monitor the barrels throughout the day and bring items to the United Way for eventual disbursement to the local organizations."
We are asking for volunteers to help during the day including those who helped last year from the Girl Scout troops, high school volunteers and city employees” stated Councilman Scott Rosado, liaison to the Youth & Community Services Department. Volunteers interested in helping on Election Day are encouraged to contact Sarah Larson via email: SarahLarson@bristolct.gov
St. Vincent DePaul does not have sufficient funding to operate its Winter Overflow Shelter from December 1st through March 1st particularly on those nights that the Governor announces that the Extreme Cold Weather Protocol is in effect. Last year, over 1,800 households from Central Connecticut called 2-1-1 seeking emergency shelter or housing support during this same time period. There also continues to be an increasing demand at Zion Lutheran and Salvation Army soup kitchens, as well as at the Brian’s Angels and Agape House drop-in centers.
Last year's Election Day collection netted over $6,000. "Stock Our Shelters is the overall theme to get Bristol residents involved in solving a serious community issue this winter. “We have 35,000 registered voters in Bristol,” stated Democratic Registrar Kevin McCauley. “If we have an above 50% turnout and everyone donated one dollar that would go a long way to funding the overnight shelter.”
"The amount of food items that were donated helped us to get through the winter," stated Christine Thebarge from The Agape House, which serves as a morning warming center.
Republican Registrar Sharon Krawiecki confirmed with the Secretary of the State that this type of non-partisan activity is allowed. “We want to be very clear that this is a voluntary activity and will not interfere with the voting activities or in any way disrupt that process. It should also be noted that a donation is NOT required to gain entry to the voting area,” Krawiecki stated.
In addition to the November 5th Election Day activity, the Holiday Farmers Market on November 23rd will be a collection point for both monetary donations and non-perishable food items.
And, on October 11 and 12th, the Knights of Columbus will hold a “Yes We Can” 24 Hour Marathon canned good collection drive from 2pm on Friday to 2pm on Saturday at St. Gregory CCD Center on Stafford Avenue.