Posts Tagged ‘Emergency Shelter’

Wallingford bands together for shelter wing

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

By Samaia Hernandez
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2266

As published in the Record Journal Saturday November 21, 2009

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WALLINGFORD — Once a loved one is gone, there is no way to bring them back. But quite often it is possible to re­spond to a tragedy by creating something positive.

That’s what Stephanie Rubin had in mind when she decided to honor her father, and that’s what Town Councilor Nick Economopoulos wanted to do for his friend.

However, the two didn’t know that the community would also be on board.

Hundreds piled into Zan­dri’s Stillwood Inn Friday evening for the first major fundraiser to raise money to build a women’s and children’s wing at the Wallingford Emer­gency Shelter, named in honor of Martin Rubin who died in a car accident on Interstate 91 last year.

“To have a turnout like this, you have a town and people who really care,” said Economopoulos, addressing the packed banquet hall.

The shelter, which moved into its location at 123 Quin­nipiac St. in 1986, opened Nov. 1 for a six-month season, and has already reached capacity of 15. It can house five women and 10 men for a maximum of 45 days, but cannot accommo­date children and families.

Executive Director Thomas Thurber, Economopoulos, the Rubin Family and a host of others are on a mission to ex­pand the facility by the arbi­trary date of 2011. If the re­sponse continues on the same level as their first event, they may be able to reach the goal sooner.

“We were hoping for some­thing around $10,000,” said Karen Pomarico, treasurer of the event. “We have succeeded that … we’re so overwhelmed by the outpouring of people.”

The initial phase of the fundraising began with a let­ter- writing campaign solicit­ing donations to purchase a bed at $500, half bed or quarter bed. Several individuals and organizations responded to the call. Local businesses also chipped in for the cause, offer­ing items to be raffled away.

Peter Chester, who has vol­unteered at the shelter for more than six years, said it’s one of the most rewarding places to spend his time.

“It’s people who are just down on their luck,” he said.

Former Town Councilor Tom Zappala, who volun­teered to open the shelter, re­ceived a distinguished award at the event for his service.

And Rubin, a literacy teacher at Cook Hill and Rock Hill schools, was sporting a smile as large as the one her fa­ther was making in the blown­ up image of him which greeted visitors as they entered the room.

“He’s like the example of how people should give in this world,” she said of Martin Ru­bin, a Holocaust survivor who tended to the needy of his syn­agogue and taught his daugh­ter the importance of giving. “I’m just so happy.”

Wallingford Emergency Shelter works on raising money for expansion

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

By Dave Moran
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2224

As published in the Record Journal Thursday August 27, 2009

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WALLINGFORD — The expansion plans are still being formed but an aggressive fundraising campaign is al­ready in the works for the Wallingford Emergency Shel­ter.

The 123 Quinnipiac St. shel­ter wants to expand to include a wing that can house parents and their children, and to do so members of its executive board have planned the first of what they expect to be a series of events.

The raffle dinner at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn on Nov. 20 is the brainchild of Stephanie Rubin. Rubin, a literacy teacher at Yalesville and Cook Hill schools, joined the shelter’s board late last year after her fa­ther, Martin “Marty” Rubin, was killed in a car accident last September. She said she was looking for a way to give back to the community and honor her father’s memory at the same time.

“He was a very generous, good man,” Rubin said, adding that the expansion would be named for him. “He always took people under his wing.”

Rubin said Nick Economopoulos, a Democratic member of the Town Council and a former teacher at Lyman Hall High School, informed her of the shelter’s needs and she realized it was a project she wanted to be a part of.

“I had heard through Nick being a part of the town coun­cil that the Wallingford Emer­gency Shelter … was having a hard time meeting the needs of the community because they only have that one large room.” The shelter can house up to 15 homeless men and women, but since the facility is essen­tially one large room, there is no space to accommodate par­ents who show up with chil­dren in tow, something that has troubled Executive Direc­tor Tom Thurber for some time.

“We want to expand the shelter to begin to address the needs of single moms and their children,” Thurber said Wednesday, “to build an addi­tion that would provide for three different families.”

But as to what form this ex­pansion would take, or how much it would cost, Thurber said he hoped it would involve a separate wing added onto the building but that the plans were in the preliminary stages and no specifics had been dis­cussed yet. Town Engineer John Thompson has said that there is room to expand the shelter, which is open from Nov. 1 through April 15, Economopoulos said.

“We don’t have all the final plans in hand right now,” Thurber said. “We know there’s a need there, we have an intention to fill that need and we know that we have to raise money from the private sector.”

Which is where Rubin’s fundraising campaign fits in.

Thus far, even in its early stages, Rubin said the cam­paign has been well received by the community, with some already donating money or supplies and others pledging to help in “any way they can.”

“So far it’s been amazing,” Rubin said. “People are already very excited about the event. Anybody from the community who I’ve mentioned it to have said ‘well, what do you need?”

Rubin said tickets for the dinner will cost $40 and should be available for sale by the end of September.