It takes a village to change a life.
Summer Help for Families
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!

When summer comes and school vacation begins, parents know how quickly the refrigerator can empty out! The families who come to The Open Door Shelter for assistance often count on school breakfasts and lunches for their children during the school year, so summer can be a particularly tough time. Summer months also usually mean a drop in food pantry donations as youth organizations take summer breaks and offices work around vacation schedules.

If you would like to help ensure that no one in our community has to go hungry, please donate to The Open Door Shelter. 

Our garden is growing... and could use your help!

When the wonderful owners of Green Up offered to build raised beds and create a wonderful garden to provide food for our kitchen and pantry, we jumped at the chance! Fresh vegetables and fruits are always welcome at the Shelter - it can be difficult for low-income families to get access to fresh foods, so we do our best to make sure we have as much available as possible. The children in shelter are also learning how a garden grows!

Now that summer is here and the plants are growing beautifully, we could use your help! If you love gardening or just have some time to spare and would like to pitch in, please contact Erin at (203) 866-1057 x29 or

Have a great meal and help people in need!

For $6, you can have a delicious lunch or dinner and make a difference for people in our community! 

Thanks to Sedona Taphouse , The Open Door Shelter is the chosen charity for their "Steak Out for Charity" special, which offers patrons a $6 Black Angus flat iron steak with a side all day on Monday.

Our "Steak Out for Charity" days will be Monday, July 3 and July 10, 11am-11pm.

Sedona Taphouse is part of Waypointe at 515 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT  06850.
Progress at the Smilow SoNo Life Center

Construction activity is bustling 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 housing placement. With this building 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!  If you know someone who would donate appliances, we are seeking new stoves, refrigerators and washer/dryers.

The construction team is currently finishing up new water, sewer and electrical infrastructure for the building. A new roof has been completed. An old block addition has been taken down, exposing the original brick and showing what the whole building will look like when the rest of the building brick is cleaned.

The concrete floor will be poured this month.  By July, walls will be going up, and we are still on target for moving in by late fall! We are so grateful to everyone who has made this possible.

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!  
Please help families enjoy the summer together!

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.

It's almost summer, and there's nothing nicer than getting to sit outside and enjoy the weather. Unfortunately, The Open Door Shelter only has one outdoor table - not ideal for so many families!  Right now, our after-school program crowds around that one outdoor table to read, celebrate warm weather birthdays, and do messy science experiments. (Fun with bubbles! Lemon volcanoes! Making greenhouses!) More tables with patio umbrellas would let kids and teachers spread out and have more elbow room.
These tables are also great for our parents - families can spend more time together outdoors, and parents can have a comfortable place to watch their kids play on the playground.
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 the New Canaan Community Foundation for selecting The Open Door Shelter as one of its spring grant recipients! The funding will support the Shelter's case management services, homeless outreach, hot meal and food pantry program, job training and housing support initiatives. The Community Foundation distributed over $670,000 to 72 local nonprofit organizations this spring and has been a longtime supporter of The Open Door Shelter's mission.

The Staples High School Service League of Boys (S.L.O.B.S) worked heard this spring to put together kitchen basics baskets for people moving from the Shelter into new homes! The teens loaded laundry baskets with cleaning supplies, kitchen items like cooking utensils and dish towels, and more.

Spring food drives organized by Diageo, National Charity League Canaan Parish, New Canaan Public Schools, and Norwalk Parks and Recreation Summer Volleyball League helped to fill shelves in our pantry this month. Thank you to these wonderful groups and to everyone who donated!

Thanks to the Bucknell Club of Fairfield County for volunteering to beautify some of our family houses! We always have a great time with volunteer groups, and it makes such a difference!

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; the Building Lives Initiative will help build a stronger neighborhood and help families find homes.

Thank you... Thank you... Thank you.  Warm kind hearts doing good deeds makes it possible for us to change lives!
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.

If you would like more information on our Building Lives Capital Initiative to fund Family housing, please contact Jeannette Archer-Simons at or 203-866-1057 x11

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 | |