It takes a village to change a life.
When we work together, we can change lives
Without people like you, it wouldn't be possible for the team at The Open Door Shelter to help people in need in our community. Thank you for caring with all the good deeds you do every day to make it possible to give a hand up!

Times are tough for many families in Fairfield County. In the past year, we've seen a 26% increase in the number of children staying at the Shelter. We know the hardship that families endure in order to try to pay rent each month, and The Open Door Shelter is committed to making a difference. The Shelter plans to transform multi-family homes into affordable family apartments close to public transportation. Parents will be able to work with our case managers, and children can come to our Family Resource Center for homework help and after-school activities.

If you would like to help families who need a place to live within their budget, please donate to The Open Door Shelter. 

This year's Darien House Tour will benefit families in need!

The First Congregational Church of Darien organizes 'The Darien House Tour: Homes with Heart' each summer in support of local nonprofit organizations. This year, The Open Door Shelter is honored that they have selected our Building Lives Initiative as their lead beneficiary; this project will help build a stronger neighborhood and help families find homes.

This year's Darien House Tour will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2017.

If you would like to buy tickets or sign up as a volunteer for the Darien House Tour, please go to Volunteers work a three-hour shift in one of the homes on the tour and also get the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets!


ODS Volunteers bring the sunshine (and butterflies)!

Our staff and volunteers are always working to make The Open Door Shelter a bright and welcoming place for everyone, especially our families. One of the ways that we've been making changes is by transforming plain walls into bright, colorful murals designed and painted by amazing groups of volunteers.

The students and teachers at Winston Preparatory School created a happy bubble-filled world with butterflies and caterpillars in our outdoor play area this spring. (You can also see their stunning 2016 mural on the right!)

If your school or community group is interested in volunteering at The Open Door Shelter, please contact Erin at (203) 866-1057 x29 or
Progress at the Smilow SoNo Life Center

Construction has begun at 2 Merritt Place which will transform a vacant but beautiful historic factory building into a job training center, community health clinic, and supportive apartments for people in our community. The Smilow SoNo Life Center will add to our ability to serve those in need. We can't wait to welcome everyone to the ribbon cutting this fall! 

The Open Door Shelter will still remain at 4 Merritt Street with the comprehensive services we provide - shelter, food, case management and more. The staff that currently runs the NCHC mobile health clinic twice a week will move into the newly created health center to deliver health services in the community. We will also expand our job training program to help members of the community and our clients find living wage jobs.

As we get closer to opening day, there will be opportunities to help - we will be furnishing apartments in October and are looking for assistance, and we can always use people willing to share their time and talents as part of our job training program. Let us know how you would like to get involved!
Making big changes at 2 Merritt Place! Next up is laying the plumbing and electrical.
Because of the construction, parking may be a little more difficult to find; we're working with our staff and the contractors to make sure we have parking available on Merritt Street for volunteers and donation drop-offs. Please stay patient with us during this time of change - it will all be worth it!  
Looking to the future at the 2017 Gala and Auction

This year's Gala and Auction celebrated the people who make a difference at the Shelter every day. We were thrilled to give Village Luminary awards to longtime volunteers Shelly McArdle and Brianna (Bree) Wilkes. Shelly has been a volunteer for nearly ten years, running our food pantry program and giving her time with amazing generosity. Bree started volunteering at the after-school program in 7th grade and dedicated her time to help children succeed in school; she's now graduating from high school and has been the program's most devoted student volunteer.

Jeannette Archer-Simons, Executive Director spoke about how we are inspired by the change we see every day as we build a strong community together. IMSci of Stamford created a beautiful video that celebrated the success of families who have moved into their own homes in the past year and spent time with our transitional coaches, who give our clients much-needed resources, confidence, and the tools they need to succeed.

It was a night of good people helping a good cause to do good work.  Thank you to all of the sp onsors, auction item contributors, attendees and donors!  A special thank you to the Gala Committee and board of directors for making it a special event. You can see more photos on our Facebook page.

Thank you to our sponsors for this year's Gala and Auction which include Bank of America; The Bitter End Yacht Club; Capossela, Cohen, LLC; Cesco's Trattoria; Diageo; Gway Printing & Graphics; Hotel Zero Degrees; IMSci; Moffly Media; PAC Group LLC; People's United Bank; Source CxM; Travel Sommelier; Wheelock Street Capital; Jon and Susan Beyman; Dennis and Nancy Meany; and Curtis and Jill Stewart.

Planning for 2018 has already begun, so let us know if you would like to be a sponsor or have an idea for next year's event! Contact Erin at 203-866-1057 x29 or
You're making a difference every day... Thank you! 

There are wonderful people working every day to make a difference at The Open Door Shelter! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to check it out.

Thanks to a grant from Key Bank, we have additional funding to help families become economically self-sufficient.
Because of generous donors like you and support from The Impact Vine, we're able to buy a new commercial freezer which will allow us to accept even more bulk donations! Photos of our shiny new freezer are coming soon. If you'd like to help with an important project that we can't afford to fund out of our general budget, please check out our page on The Impact Vine  for our latest project. We would love to get outdoor tables with umbrellas - this will give our kids a place to read and do activities in good weather, and parents can relax at the tables while their children play on the playground!
The Bucknell Club of Fairfield County helped make our newest family home a more welcoming place - thank you!
Thanks to Hitachi Capital for sponsoring and preparing a delicious dinner AND gifting us with a commercial deli slicer for our kitchen! We're so grateful for all that you do for the Shelter.
If you're interested in volunteering at The Open Door Shelter, please contact Erin at  (203) 866-1057 x29 or
If you would like to help those in need of food, shelter, and support, you can always serve the people who come to The Open Door Shelter for assistance.

Please make a gift at  The Open Door Shelter's website or send a donation to:
The Open Door Shelter, 4 Merritt Street, Norwalk, CT  06854.

It takes a village to find a home for everyone.

If you'd like to help The Open Door Shelter as part of your online shopping, visit and Amazon donates to The Open Door Shelter.
The Open Door Shelter | (203) 866-1057 | |