Hands On Hartford News-

The Gratitude Edition

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The Joy of Giving

Did you catch NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on December 5? Wasn’t it heartwarming, hearing from Linda Mason, who has been volunteering at Hands On Hartford’s Gather55? Linda shared about her experience as a volunteer and how much she gets out of it. In her words, “When I come here, I feel purpose; when I leave here, I feel happiness.” At a time when many feel the effects of isolation, Linda says that her time at Hands On Hartford is “building human connections, and filling my heart space.”

Linda Mason knows the joy of giving her time and talent. We often hear this sentiment from those who give - "I am receiving more than I'm giving" is something we hear over and over again. Or in the words of one of our long-time supporters, "Why do we give to Hands On Hartford? So we can experience the joy of giving! There's nothing better than knowing that our gift becomes a gift to support and encourage and help the lives of others."

This joy of giving is evident in an old friend of ours, Clayton, who had received services through Hands On Hartford’s Day Program. Clayton dropped by for a visit recently to share good news about his personal progress and to surprise us with a VERY generous financial donation to Hands On Hartford! When asked what inspired him to give, he said he was so grateful for all of the good things we provided for his life and that he wanted to show his gratitude for all of the assistance he received from HOH and our Day Program Specialist, Donessia, in particular.

At Gather55, diners may participate in our mission by paying something towards their meals or by volunteering half an hour of their time. [Of course, on-the-house meal vouchers are also available.] Candido joined us for lunch for the first time this month and chose to volunteer as his form of participation. He has not only served water and coffee, and bused and cleaned tables, but he has also gone above and beyond, cleaning windows and looking out for other ways he can be helpful. The joy and pride he takes in being a part of a caring team and a larger mission is evident in the smile on his face.

Every year at this time of the season we reach out and ask our community to support our mission with a financial contribution. Naturally, the work we do at Hands On Hartford does take money to accomplish – from the cost of food and supplies, to the wages we pay staff, not to mention electricity to keep our kitchen equipment working, gas for our truck so we can pick up food donations, and so on. We invite you to share in the joy of giving! [CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR GIFT]

An Attitude of Gratitude...

From all of us at Hands On Hartford, thank you to everyone who made a donation to this year's #GivingTuesday fundraiser! Your generous gifts not only improve our neighbors' living situations, but they also raise them up, fill them with warmth and hope, and make us all stronger as we connect as a compassionate and caring community.

We also want to give a huge thanks to all of our generous Thanksgiving Day Holiday Meal sponsors, including Chef Xavier "X" Santiago, Executive Chef at The Place 2 Be, and his team for volunteering to prepare and fund our dinner, for an anonymous friend of HOH's for generously sponsoring this event, along with CGI, for their thoughtful sponsorship of our gifts of warmth for adults.

We are also so grateful for the many staff and volunteers who lent their time, talents and love to making this gathering one to remember, having served 262 guests!

Gather55 - dinner update

Don't miss out in the month of December when Gather55 guest dinner chef, Chef Billy Grant of Restaurant Bricco (pictured on left with Gather55 Head Chef Jeremy), will have his mouth-watering creations featured on our prix fixe dinner menu, along with some favorites from Chef Tyler Anderson! Check out the new menu HERE and drop in or make your reservations at Open Table!

The Perfect Holiday Gift!

Looking for the perfect holiday gift that keeps on giving?

We now offer Gather55 gift cards in any denomination! They can be purchased at our restaurant Mon.-Thurs. from 9am-2pm and Wed.-Sat. from 5:30-8:30pm or by calling


Feel good knowing you're supporting one of your favorite nonprofits, helping to make a difference in our community and gifting your loved one with an unforgettable dining experience they will be sure to talk about for years to come!

Upcoming Christmas Day event!

Coming up on Sunday, December 25th, Hands On Hartford is hosting our annual free

Christmas Holiday Meal and all are welcome! This is a wonderful way to share in community and celebration with your Hartford neighbors.

Doors will open at 10:00am and a delicious meal will be served from 11:30am-1:00pm!

There will be toys provided to children in attendance as well as blessing bags filled with necessities for adults, thanks to the thoughtfulness of the Gengras Center.

We are in need of an abundance of gifts of warmth (new gloves, hats, scarves) for children. If you're able to provide these items by 12/19/22, please reach out to Kate at [email protected].

We are also still in need of volunteers to help serve, clean, assist with gift distribution and more! If you're interested, please contact us at [email protected].

Faith In Action

In honor of Thanksgiving, beautifully prepared and boxed pies were donated by the teens of JTConnect - Jewish Teen Learning Connection! We know some folks who appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed these tasty treats! Thanks to these teens for giving so generously to this community.

New Staff Spotlights & Staff Updates

Mathew Buzzeo

Case Manager

This month, we welcome Mathew Buzzeo to the Hands On Hartford team! Mathew is our newest Case Manager, working with folks in our supportive housing program. We're excited to have him contribute his positive attitude and skills to our team! Welcome Mat!

HOH on the News!

NBC Connecticut stopped by Hands On Hartford and Gather55 on "Giving Tuesday" to do a feature story on volunteering and giving back that aired the same day!

Check out the news clip here.

And keep an eye out for our longtime and beloved pantry volunteer, Frank Lambert, who was interviewed for part of the piece! Frank has been a dedicated pantry volunteer, helping to weigh, stock and organize our shelves, which is no small feat, for 6 years and always with such a positive attitude! We are so grateful to Frank for his generosity of time and energy!

Look Who Has Their hands on Hartford!

Travelers Employees participated in Travelers’ 11th Annual Thanksgiving Box Drive to help provide Thanksgiving meals to families in need. The teams collected food and gift cards, packed and decorated the boxes and then delivered them to Hands On Hartford and other local agencies. HOH received 63 total boxes totaling over 1,300 lbs of assorted non-perishable food, plus $2,040 in gift cards! Amazing! We are so grateful for the generosity of Travelers employees, who support the Travelers Promise by taking care of our local communities.

In early November, we received the amazing news that SBM Charitable Foundation will support our weekend Backpack Nutrition Program for kids with a $4,000 grant! This support will go a long way to ensuring that kids in our community have plenty of nutritious food to eat over the weekend, so they can come to school Monday ready to learn. Huge thanks for this generous support!

Zuppardi's Pizza Truck visited in early November to generously giving away 200 slices of their delicious pizza just to thank the staff, volunteers and housing tenants for all that they do to make Hands On Hartford, and Gather55, a special place to work, volunteer and live! Thank you, Zuppardi's! We really feel the love!

Oh so grateful for the caring kids at Renbrook School who created these care kits in specially-decorated bags!

Thank you all for connecting to our community in this very thoughtful way! We just love when bright young minds find ways to brighten other people's days!

With nearly 1/3 of our Hartford families living below the poverty line, we know how important access to healthy and nutritious food is. We are excited to announce that we’ve received a generous grant from the CVS Health Foundation as part of their Hometown Fund to support our food pantry, weekend meals for kids, and meals for all through our new Gather55 restaurant. We couldn’t do it without them! You can learn more about the Hometown Fund here.

These amazing Lyman Orchards pies were donated by Hartford Gay Men's Chorus (pictured here is HGMC Executive Director, Robert Reader) and were a real treat for our Hartford neighbors experiencing food insecurity this past Thanksgiving. We love our partnership with HGMC and are so grateful for their support!

Hands On Hartford is Hiring!

Hands On Hartford staff are dedicated, caring, and hardworking people who like to have fun while making a difference in our community. With great benefits, staff recognition and support, we value teamwork, compassion and community. 

Check out these open positions and help us spread the word:

Find out more about these positions and how to apply HERE.

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, visit our website at www.handsonhartford.org and click “Make a Donation Now,” or mail your check to Hands On Hartford, 55 Bartholomew Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106.

Or contact Kate Shafer at [email protected] 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.

Leave a legacy. Ensure your long term impact on this community by including us in your estate plan, making qualified charitable distributions from your IRA, gifts of appreciated stock, or include us as a contingent beneficiary of your life insurance. Contact Executive Director Barbara Shaw to explore planned giving ideas and to join our Legacy Society. [email protected] or 860- 706-1502.

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

On Hartford, a Points of Light affiliate

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