Cramer & Anderson has donated $1,000 to provide dinners for patrons of FISH NWCT, which operates the largest emergency homeless shelter in northwestern Connecticut.
The donation is part of a Litchfield County Bar Association program called LCBA Dinners For FISH, in which law firms sponsor meals prepared by area restaurants, or donate to sponsor grocery runs, “to help the most vulnerable members of our community get through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cramer & Anderson’s donation will cover the cost of dinners on May 10, 12, 17, and 19. The May 10 (Mother’s Day) and May 17 dinners will be provided by Edison Grill, and restaurants are still being determined for the May 12 and May 19.
“Many of us live here and our lawyers are town attorneys to seven Litchfield County towns. As a firm we represent hundreds of local individuals and businesses, and we want to help out those that have fallen on hard times during this stressful and anxiety provoking time,” said Cramer & Anderson Partner Randy DiBella, who provided leadership on the firm’s donation.
“We’re fortunate the Litchfield County Bar Association has adopted FISH and put the meal sponsorship out to all of its membership. We’re thrilled with Cramer & Anderson’s donation. It’s just a godsend to us,” said Deirdre Houlihan DiCara, Executive Director of FISH, which stands for Friends in Service to Humanity of Northwestern CT.
“The Litchfield County Bar Association is grateful to be able to continue our partnership with FISH by providing three meals per week through the month of May,” said Attorney Regina Wexler, the LCBA President. “The generosity of Cramer & Anderson has enabled us to fill all our slots quickly. This will allow us to continue our commitment to FISH. Our friends at Cramer & Anderson have always demonstrated leadership in the LCBA and we are grateful that they continue to do so via our community outreach program.”
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FISH NWCT, which opened in 1972, helps patrons with the most basic human needs—food, shelter and hope. The emergency homeless shelter has 35 beds, providing families, individuals and veterans with a safe haven as they await permanent supportive housing. FISH also serves as a food pantry, helping more than 1,500 area residents and families each year.
“Who could have ever imagined what we’re all experiencing around the world today,” said DiCara, who developed an action plan in March to address the difficulty in maintain social distancing in a homeless shelter whose residents range in age from infants to senior citizens.
FISH found alternate housing for many of its patrons, moving its 60-and-older patrons to a motel in Torrington, and later housing others at the Marriott in Waterbury after the state authorized using that facility for the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. At a thinned-out FISH shelter, remaining beds are now six feet apart.
“It’s a challenge, but so far we are all well here at the main shelter,” DiCara said.
The coronavirus has created other challenges for FISH. The food pantry is seeing additional strain because of the increase in area residents who have become unemployed or furloughed. At the same time, food donations have decreased as grocery stores face an increased demand from families who are quarantined and stocking up.
The increasing need and diminishing supply prompted DiCara to put out a call for meal donations on the FISH Facebook page, and a tremendous positive response includes the LCBA effort.
The LCBA’s goal is to have firms help FISH by either providing the dinner meal for Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday evenings, or by doing a simple grocery run. LCBA will check in with DiCara toward the end of May to see if the donation program should be extended into June.
LCBA also encouraged attorneys and firms to reach out directly concerning how they can help by contacting DiCara by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (860) 482-7300.
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