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January 2016
A Day at the Shelter 

5:30am -  Lights come on in the overflow areas so the Common Room can be prepped for breakfast. Ten to twenty mats on the floor are rolled up, overflow residents go to shower, and the dining room tables are set for breakfast.

6:00am - Breakfast is prepared by staff and volunteers. Clients staying in the dorms are waking up and preparing for the day. Morning chores begin, including the dorms being swept and mopped.  
Laundry is started, and all sheets, blankets and towels for the day are washed, dried and folded for 90+ housed at the shelter. 
7:00 am -  Breakfast is served. Individuals that are clients in the shelter and individuals from the community living in poverty watch the news while they eat a hot meal.
Families pick up breakfast from the kitchen to eat in the family area and get the children ready for school.

8:00am -  Tables are cleared by clients of the shelter and dishes are washed. Floors are mopped in the kitchen and eating area. Trash is taken out, bathrooms are cleaned, and clients finish up their chores to keep the shelter neat and clean.  School buses pick up students while their mothers watch their children head off to school.

8:30am - Some shelter clients meet with their case managers, while others leave the shelter for the day.  Some are looking for jobs, however more than 30% already have them. Some go to classes to learn how to read, while others attend GED and college classes. Some visit family, while others collect cans and visit drop in centers or the public library. 
9:00am -  Individuals seeking health care, food assistance, or rent-related counseling wait in the lobby for appointments. Case managers counsel 15 individuals a week who are at risk of becoming homeless.  Workshops and classes are also offered during this time cove ring topics ranging from anger management and grieving to financial management and job se arch strategies.

The Norwalk Community Health Center's "Health On Wheels"  bus  provides on-site medical care and medication distribution on Mondays and Fridays.  
Preschool education classes are held with children and their moms on Wednesdays and Fridays.

11:00am - Lunch is prepped by staff and volunteers and tables are set.    
12:30pm - F amilies and com munity members pick up hot food for lunch from the Manna House kitchen .

1:00pm - Shelter clients come in for lunch and stay if they have counseling, coaching, classes, or medical appointments.  Clients work with case managers on housing applications or visit potential apartments.   

3:30pm  - The children of the shelter come home from school, and the after school program begins. The children have a snack and  receive  help in math, reading, science, and other projects thanks to our volunteer teachers, counselors and teen  mentors.  
4:15pm -  Clients are welcomed into the shelter as they come back from work, job searching and community support as dinner is prepared by our kitchen staff and volunteers.  
6:00pm -  Dinner is served to our in-house and community clients.  After dinner, evening chores begin and intake is completed for new clients that are homeless. AA meetings are also held in English and Spanish.

8:30pm - The shelter families put their children to bed.
9:00pm -  The clients that stay the night are in the dorms preparing for bed.  Toiletries (shampoo, soap, razors, etc.)  are distributed in preparation for the next day. 

9:30pm - Clients have free time to watch television, read, or utilize computers.
11:00pm - Doors are locked and the lights are off for the night.

Throughout the night, staff members do rounds to assure the shelter is secure inside and out. They draft reports and specify any late returners to the shelter who may have been working a night shift job. Any additional laundry or cleaning needs are finished.

The shelter is a safe temporary place for those who are in need.  The next morning the routine begins again.


Open Door Shelter

4 Merritt Street
Norwalk, CT 06854


It's cold outside.

News Channel 12 did a special report on the harsh effects of cold weather in the homeless community and how shelters like Open Door Shelters use all the resources possible to make sure everyone is warm and safe.

Thank you to all those who have donated blankets, gloves, hats, long johns, and coats.  We use them every day.
Save the Date!
Open Door Shelter's
Annual Gala Event
will be held 
May 19th, 2016
Woodway Country Club 
in  Darien. 

Support the work of Open Door Shelter by becoming an Event Sponsor! 

Our current sponsors include:  

For more information, 
please email  
or call 203-866-1057 x20
and find out how you can become a sponsor.


Special Thanks

We are so grateful for the contributions from faith and community organizations that make our work possible.
Some recent contributors include:

Congregational Church 
of New Canaan

Jeld Charitable Foundation

American Legion Auxiliary 12

Stevens Memorial 
Methodist Church

Noroton Presbyterian Church

Shouvlin Foundation

United Methodist of Darien

Junior League of 
Norwalk & Stamford