Bridgeport's HamletHub Wed, 14 Apr 2021 00:28:31 -0400 Center for Family Justice Acquires New Safehouse Property; Seeks Donation Support

Domestic violence victims desperate for immediate refuge from systematic and often murderous physical and sexual abuse can soon breathe slightly easier.

The Center for Family Justice (CFJ) has acquired a 9,000-square-foot property intended as a safehouse. The new safehouse doubles the current location’s resident capacity and provides ample space for resource personnel to meet with clients.   

CFJ offers free support services and critical emergency housing to victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and human trafficking. The agency serves Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford, and Trumbull residents.

“Empowerhouse” safehouse is undergoing renovation and retrofitting. CFJ has set a goal of opening Empowerhouse this fall. Bob’s Discount Furniture has generously committed to provide furnishings for the entire 9,000 square-foot property. 

A 3.5 million fundraising campaign has been launched to fully renovate and equip the safehouse. Donors can give through the agency’s new navigation-friendly secure micro-site at

Empowerhouse needs monetary donations, small appliances, laptops, household fixtures, bedding and bath sets, books, art supplies, even paper goods and non-perishable food. Category-specific gifts in bulk can be individually selected on the site. Donors can remain anonymous or choose public attribution.

The 501c3 Bridgeport-based Center for Family Justice, located at 735 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year. Those needing emergency housing and support services should call the Center’s hotline at 203-384-9559 for immediate help.

]]> (Shelly Marr) Places Fri, 09 Apr 2021 11:28:31 -0400
CFJ's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Goes Virtual For 2021

Bridgeport, Ct — Since 2013, thousands of local residents have joined The Center for Family Justice for its annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, a mile-long fundraising walk through downtown Fairfield to raise awareness about the impact sexual abuse and violence against women and girls has in the local communities it serves.

For the second consecutive year, CFJ will hold its ninth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes as a month-long virtual event because of ongoing Covid-19-related social gathering restrictions. Once again, the Bridgeport-based nonprofit is encouraging supporters to take personal fundraising walks to take a stand against gender-based violence throughout the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Sponsored by Aquarion Water, the fundraising and awareness event will culminate the morning of Saturday, April 24 with a live social media broadcast to celebrate those who have taken their own walks on behalf of CFJ throughout the month. 

To champion these efforts, CFJ will continue to work closely with its White Ribbon Committee, a group of male community leaders dedicated to breaking the cycles of domestic and sexual violence in the six local communities it serves.

This virtual walk effort will once again be chaired by Gary MacNamaraExecutive Director of Public Safety & Government Affairs at Sacred Heart University, and the former police chief in Fairfield. MacNamara has served as WAM’s chairman since its inception. He is known for sporting a towering pair of red high heels as he walks each year to demonstrate his solidarity with female victims and survivors of sexual abuse and violence.

CFJ’s supporters can join MacNamara and get involved by doing the following:

  • Registering to participate in Walk A Mile in Her Shoes at
  • Form a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes team and create a fundraising page for that team.
  • Encourage friends and family to donate in support of their efforts.
  • Between April 1 and 30 take a picture or video walking in support of CFJ and share it on social media using the hashtags #WhyIWalkCFJ #WeStillWalkforCFJ #IStillWalkForCFJ.  Suggestion: Wear the Walk a Mile symbol of red shoes or something teal, the official color of sexual violence awareness, to show you care. 
  • Send those photos or short videos to CFJ’s Community Relations Coordinator Beth Fitzpatrick at

Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice said holding virtual walk again this year was in the best interest of community health.  In 2019, the last year the event was held as an outdoor community walk, more than 1,500 people joined in for the traditional one-mile trek through downtown Fairfield. In 2020, the walk went virtual, but was extremely successful as hundreds of walkers joined the virtual effort.

“Last year, we were incredibly inspired by the enthusiasm for our first virtual walk and the number of people who joined us to send the very important message that even during these challenging times, we all must stand together in the efforts to end sexual abuse and violence in our communities,” said Greenwood. “As much as we miss walking together, we hope our supporters will bring the same enthusiasm to our virtual walk as they did in 2020.” 

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes 2021 has a goal of raising more than $50,000 to support the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport, CFJ’s therapeutic summer camp and year-long mentoring program for local youth impacted by domestic and sexual violence. 

The need for the walk and its financial support is more important than ever, Greenwood noted. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began calls to domestic violence hotlines throughout the state have increased by as much as 30 percent. CFJ’s safe house is at capacity and it has been forced to provide hotel shelter to those fleeing abusive relationships to help keep them safe at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

MacNamara says he is encouraging people to find their own way to be part of this effort. The traditional walk has long been noteworthy for the number of men, led by MacNamara, who walk down Fairfield’s Post Road wearing heels or red shoes to show their solidarity and commitment to breaking the cycles of gender-based violence.

To learn more about supporting Walk a Mile as a sponsor, participant or donor contact Lisa Labella, CFJ’s Director of Development and Community Outreach at

]]> ( Beth Fitzpatrick) Events Thu, 08 Apr 2021 07:21:59 -0400
Beardsley Zoo Invites the Public to Its Party For The Planet

 Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo invites residents to join the Zoo in celebrating with a Party For The Planet, a number of virtual and live activities designed to mark the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. Plans include interpretive talks via Zoom about some of the Zoo’s conservation initiatives, giveaways at the Zoo and an in-person, socially-distanced cleanup in Beardsley Park. Throughout the event, a display of artwork by Sonny Cardinali will be located in the Farmyard. Cardinali makes garden metalworks from discarded objects.

Schedule of Events:


Join us on Monday, April 12 at 1:00 PM on Facebook Live and Instagram Live with Zoo Educator Jackie Westlein and Volunteer Gay Gasser about choosing and using sustainable products. 


There is nature all around us, even in our cities and backyards! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the only way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document the nature in our area. On April 14th from 7:00-8:00 PM via Zoom, we’ll learn more about the City Nature Challenge and the iNaturalist app with Educator Bridget Cervero from The Maritime Aquarium. Participants will learn how to use the app for a global BioBlitz from April 30 - May 2, 2021. 


On April 17, the first 100 families to enter the Zoo will receive a Party for the Planet swag bag featuring the following: a trowel for planting, reusable veg bags, SAFE cards, window clings to deter bird strikes, and more!


Up to 50 individuals each day can sign up to help the Zoo clean up Beardsley Park—socially distanced, of course. We will supply gloves, trash bags, paper pickers and companionship: you bring your energy, face mask and desire to help clean up the earth! Families are welcome. The event takes place from 9:30-12:00 both days. As our thanks for being part of the clean-up crew, everyone who participates can enter the Zoo that day for the discounted price of $9 each. (Regular admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11). 


Learn more about careers in conservation with Zoo Educator Justin Vaughan on Saturday at 2:00 PM. 


MonarchWatch is a Citizen Science program which involves volunteers to tag and record Monarch Butterflies. Your contribution will help scientists collect very valuable data to study the population and its migration patterns down to Mexico for the winter season.  Monarch butterflies have many direct threats from weather, to habitat loss and destruction of valuable food sources due to herbicides and agricultural expansion. Monarch Butterfly numbers are steadily in decline. Join Zoo Educator Jen Farrell on via Zoom Sunday, April 18 at 2:00 pm to learn more. 


On April 22, the first 50 families to enter the Zoo will receive reusable Zoo bags filled with fun and informative ways to help the earth!


Join us via Facebook and Instagram Live on Thursday, April 22 at 1:00 PM as we celebrate Earth Day!

For more information and to register for any of these programs, visit

]]> (Lisa Clair) Places Wed, 07 Apr 2021 09:15:26 -0400
U.S. Military Veteran Comedians Performing to Benefit Homeless Veterans at the 5th Annual Comedy Night Friday, June 4

Homes for the Brave presents a lively and memorable night out at the 5th  Annual “For Veterans By Veterans” Comedy Night, hosted at Vazzano’s Four Seasons on Friday, June 4th.

“Featuring comics who are U.S. Military Veterans sets our Comedy Night apart,” said Phillip Modesti, combat Veteran (US Marine Corps), HFTB Board Member, and Event Chair. "It’s in the name. We, as Veterans, are helping our fellow brothers and sisters. Not only is it a night of laughs, but we are making a difference in the lives of those who need it most."

The “For Veterans By Veterans” Comedy Night features a dinner, door prize, 50/50 raffle, and a hilarious lineup of professional comics, all of whom are U.S. Military Veterans. Jay Whittaker (Air Force), Jess Miller (Army), and Eddie Clark (Marine Corps.) are scheduled to perform. Proceeds raised from the event will fund programs and services that assist Connecticut’s Veterans struggling with homelessness gain the foundation they need to get back on their feet and achieve their personal goals.

“No Veteran should be homeless,” said Dr. Howard Fero, HFTB Advisory Committee member and Event Co-Chair. “Homes for the Brave exists to serve Veterans, offering the tools they need to regain their independence.”

Opening its doors in 2002, Homes for the Brave is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that dedicating to providing safe housing, case management, life skills coaching, mental health treatment, and vocational services to individuals experiencing homelessness, primarily Veterans. Money raised from the “By Veterans For Veterans” Comedy Night will cover skyrocketing expenses for food, cleaning supplies, and PPE. To date, the organization has served over 1,400 individuals, assisting them with securing stable income, safe housing, and increasing their self-determination.

Tickets are $75 per person and tables of 10 can be purchased for $750. Sponsorship opportunities are available and begin at $100. Doors open at 6:00 PM, dinner is served at 6:30, and the show starts at 8:00 PM. To maintain social distancing measures, only limited number of tickets are available. To purchase your tickets visit For more information, please call (203) 338-0669. Vazzano’s Four Seasons is located at 337 Kenyon Street in Stratford, CT

]]> ( Elizabeth Gorenbergh ) Events Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:26:32 -0400
Congressman Jim Himes presents CHP's CEO Renée Dobos with a NeighborWorks America check for $222,500!

Connecticut Housing Partners' 31-year mission is to create and sustain innovative housing, revitalize neighborhoods, prevent homelessness, and enhance the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents of Connecticut.  

"During a global pandemic, ensuring everyone has a place to live is crucial for the safety of affordable housing residents and for our efforts to contain and defeat the virus," said Congressman Himes. "Creating enough affordable housing is a nationwide challenge. People should not have to commute hours to their jobs and seniors should not have to leave the community they have called home for years just because of housing costs. That's why it's good news to see NeighborWorks America funding come to our district."

"Our work in Fairfield County is impactful as providers of affordable housing, and this grant from NeighborWorks America will help us continue our important mission,” said Renée Dobos, CHP. “The need for safe, clean, affordable rental housing is growing every day. We have pulled our communities together when they need us most, especially during the pandemic. We recognize that having a safe, affordable place to live is essential to achieving financial security."  

Dobos continues, “We are proud to be a chartered member of NeighborWorks America, who creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities.”

As a congressionally chartered and funded nonprofit, NeighborWorks supports organizations like CHP that provide communities with affordable housing, financial counseling, and resident engagement, and collaboration in the areas of health, employment, and education. “NeighborWorks offers programs and support to us that help us establish, and maintain healthy operations, measure the reach of our efforts, expand our programs to meet community needs, and move toward long-term stability and growth.

Through NeighborWorks, we receive funding for many transformational programs, training and leadership development, staffing, operations, and capacity building upgrade, said Renée. NeighborWorks also conducts rigorous assessments before their acceptance and every year thereafter.

]]> (Robin Jerrild) Charities Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:44:12 -0400
Workforce Development Conversations - Career Pathways

The Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC) and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF), with support from Bank of America, will be co-hosting the virtual series “Breaking Down Connecticut’s Workforce Development Challenges & Opportunities”, kicking off Thursday, April 8 from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

The first event will focus on Career Pathways and feature keynote speaker Kelli-Marie Vallieres, Executive Director of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of Workforce Strategy and Vice President of the Governor’s Workforce Council. A panel discussion will follow with representatives from Career Resources, Connecticut Department of Labor, Housatonic Community College, and The WorkPlace. This event is free, open to the public, and will contain a question and answer portion. Attendees can preregister online at

“When individuals have access to the right tools and resources for advancing economic mobility, our communities are even better suited for responsible, sustainable growth,” said Bill Tommins, President of Bank America Southern Connecticut. “In the past year, workforce development programs and partnerships have been vital in supporting residents disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. Bank of America’s collaboration with longstanding partners Bridgeport Regional Business Council and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation will help drive work aligned to local employer hiring needs and put our residents on a path to economic success.”

This series intends to dig into the themes of how the changing workforce impacts our economic future and quality of life, the role equity and equality play in access to opportunities, and how our region’s employees, employers,  state, and local agencies are responding. Additional conversations are scheduled for May and June and will focus on the topics of Education and the Talent Pipeline in grades K-12 and Industry Impact, respectfully.


]]> (BRBC) Events Mon, 05 Apr 2021 09:28:56 -0400
Fairfield County Bank Hosts Diaper Drive to Support Local Families, Donate Now Through April at Any Branch Office

Fairfield County Bank Hosts Diaper Drive to Support Local Fairfield County Families Through Person to Person

Since the pandemic hit, many of our neighbors in Fairfield County found themselves without the means to provide the essentials for their families and Person-to-Person became their support.
Join Fairfield County Bank in helping our neighbors in need by donating, diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes and formula. You can drop off your donation at any of the bank's 16 branch office locations now through the end of April.
Locate a Fairfield County Bank branch office closest to you here.
Learn more about this Diaper Drive here.
Person-to-Person provides individuals and families with assistance for basic needs to overcome daily challenges and access to resources to improve their lives.
]]> (KA) Charities Wed, 31 Mar 2021 09:52:27 -0400
Holy Saturday Free Food Distribution in Bridgeport

LifeBridge Community Services, Greater Bridgeport NAACP, Bridgeport OIC partner to distribute food on Holy Saturday, April 3 beginning at 8:00 am at Walters Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church

LifeBridge, the Greater Bridgeport Branch NAACP, and Bridgeport OIC share in the belief of unlimited human potential and the vision of Bridgeport youth and families living in a community made stronger by neighbor helping neighbor as each of these organizations works to lift people up. In keeping with the Easter holiday, they will distribute food to 500 families in the spirit of Holy Saturday, and in lending a helping hand up, sharing bounty, and solidarity.

The importance of giving and sharing takes on special significance this time of year. In continued partnership, the Greater Bridgeport Branch NAACP, LifeBridge, and Bridgeport OIC will distribute food to families who may need the extra boost to help them through tough times with the hope that with a little extra help they will never have to be in need again. During these challenging times it’s important that we come together, support one another and lend a helping hand.

“Right now, people are stretched thin,” said Alan Mathis, President & CEO of LifeBridge. “We look to Spring as a time of renewal and wanted to extend a hand as a good neighbor in the hope that the coming days bring better times and help bolster the resilience in us all.”

Rev D Stanley quotes MLK “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.” We are using ours to help where we can.

All three organizations offer programs the help build resilience, self-sufficiency, and improved quality of life. LifeBridge’s programs focus on youth development through the Urban Scholars Program along with a Family Resource Center and an integrated Behavioral Health Program. The Greater Bridgeport Branch NAACP offers a comprehensive adult Financial Education Program. Bridgeport OIC offers free job training and placement services, small business development, urban farming training and professional consulting services in community, and economic development.

 About LifeBridge: LifeBridge’s mission is to partner with Bridgeport’s youth and families to build resilience. LifeBridge believes in the unlimited potential of every child and family in Bridgeport. By providing a helping hand up through opportunities that have lasting impact, LifeBridge offers a combination of behavioral health services, youth development, and asset-building resources that enables families to thrive and live safely and securely in their neighborhoods.

]]> (LifeBridge Community Services) Neighbors Wed, 31 Mar 2021 08:04:46 -0400
Woofgang & Co. Taps Amiee Turner of Bridgeport as New Exec Director

Team Woofgang & Co., a local nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young adults with disabilities through learning a variety of vocational skill sets by producing, packaging, marketing, and selling high quality pet treats, toys, apparel, and accessories, has selected Amiee Turner of Bridgeport as their new executive director. 

“Amiee is a positive and energetic leader. Her practical approach to problem solving, and passion for leveraging her skills in service of others made her our ideal candidate,” said Amy Stern, Team Woofgang & Co. board president. “The board is excited to work with Amiee as our new executive director and confident that Team Woofgang & Co. will be well positioned under her guidance to thrive in the years to come.”

Turner is an innovative, people-centered leader with a strong history of successful supervisory experience across diverse industries, including home lending, real estate, theater, dance, and professional sports. Prior to joining Team Woofgang & Co., Turner was the executive administrator at RealFi. She also served as the executive director of the not-for-profit Ocean State Theatre Company, Inc. of Rhode Island for over 10 years. 

“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead such a great organization into our next chapter. Team Woofgang & Co. is truly an innovative company, and I know we can move forward and continue to provide the excellent services and programs for our team members and great products for our customers,” Turner said. “I’m especially grateful to the board for their trust and guidance. Team Woofgang & Co. is stronger today because of their tireless work over the past four years.”

As executive director, Turner will work closely with staff and the board to ensure the organization can continue to adapt to serve young adults with disabilities as we emerge from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. One of her first acts as executive director has been to oversee the completion and opening of Team Woofgang & Co.’s new production facility, located on Fairfield Avenue in the Blackrock neighborhood of Bridgeport. She will also oversee ongoing fundraising, development efforts, and the continued evolution and expansion of Team Woofgang & Co.’s services, programs, and retail products. 

About Team Woofgang & Co.

Team Woofgang & Co. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization driven to help young people with disabilities by creating ways to adapt vocational skills to the individual, while providing high-quality pet treats and handcrafted novelty items with passion and purpose. Visit for more information, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date news and information.

PHOTO: Amiee Turner, Team Woofgang & Co. executive director. Photo courtesy of Amiee Turner.

]]> (Sarah Roy) Neighbors Wed, 31 Mar 2021 04:58:43 -0400
Connecticut receives first FEMA mobile vaccination unit in the nation, launched today in Bridgeport

Connecticut is the first state in the nation to receive one of FEMA’s newly created mobile vaccination units, which will help the state in its ongoing efforts to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to people who live within socially vulnerable neighborhoods. The unit consists of two trailers and will be on loan to the state for the next 60 days. It made its national debut today at a pop-up clinic that was held in the parking lot of the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.

“The partnership with FEMA and the federal government has been exceptional, providing support to our state during this critical time as we continue to move as fast as possible to vaccinate as many residents as we can,” Governor Lamont said. “This first-in-the-nation mobile vaccination unit is a vital tool in our toolbox to reach communities across Connecticut which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to take every step possible, working with our network of vaccine providers, and with the support of our Congressional delegation to ensure our distribution is equitable and touching every corner of our state.”

Over the next two months, the Lamont administration will deploy the unit to 17 targeted communities that were selected based on the CDC’s social vulnerability index. They include:

  • Bridgeport
  • Danbury
  • East Hartford
  • Hartford
  • Killingly
  • Meriden
  • Middletown
  • New Britain
  • New Haven
  • New London
  • North Canaan
  • Norwalk
  • Norwich
  • Stamford
  • Waterbury
  • Windham
  • Winsted

Municipal and community partners in these locations are coordinating outreach to high-risk and vulnerable residents to make them aware of the mobile vaccination unit and are assisting with appointment scheduling.

Medical staffing for the unit will be provided by UConn Health, Griffin Health, Hartford HealthCare, and Trinity health of New England. The sites will also be supported for non-clinical staffing by the Connecticut National Guard and municipal partners.

The unit is expected to handle a minimum of 250 people per day. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be used to enhance efficiency and maximize the number of doses administered through the team.

Connecticut’s vaccination program will open to the final group of adults – all individuals between the ages of 16 and 44 – on Thursday, April 1. Individuals within that age group will be eligible to schedule appointments starting on that date.

Information on Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccination program is available at

]]> (Gov. Ned Lamont) Life Mon, 29 Mar 2021 13:37:04 -0400
Elizabeth M. Pfriem Foundation Gives $1.5 Million Gift to Support Center for Family Justice's Camp HOPE

Bridgeport, CT  A major five-year grant from the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Foundation will allow The Center for Family Justice to expand its award-winning summer camp and mentoring program for children and teens who have experienced the trauma of domestic and sexual violence.

The foundation, endowed by the late Bridgeport philanthropist Elizabeth Pfriem, recently announced its plans to donate $1.5 million during the next five years in support of CFJ’s Camp HOPE-America-Bridgeport program and its related Pathways to HOPE mentoring program. 

Since its inception in summer 2017, the camp has provided local children with a therapeutic summer camp and year-long mentoring program focused on helping them overcome their trauma and develop newfound resiliency in the aftermath of abuse.

In appreciation of the transformative gift, the programs will subsequently be known as The Elizabeth M. Pfriem Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport and the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Pathways to HOPE mentoring program. 

The foundation’s generous support will allow CFJ to expand the scope and impact of its Camp HOPE program by adding several new educational elements to the camp’s year-long mentoring component, as well as the services of a full-time staff clinician to support campers’ emotional health throughout the year. 

“This incredible gift will be a true game changer for this inspiring program and our future efforts to support the youngest, most vulnerable survivors of abuse,” said Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice. “We are grateful to the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Foundation for believing, as we do, that Camp HOPE has the capacity to change and save young lives, while breaking the generational cycles of abuse. We know the impact of this gift will be realized for many years to come.” 

“Elizabeth Pfriem was deeply committed to child advocacy, public education and community health throughout her lifetime,” said Tony Montalto, Executive Director/Co-Trustee of the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Foundation. “This gift to establish the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Pathways to HOPE program with Camp HOPE will support area children impacted by trauma they did not deserve. It reflects all the things Mrs. Pfriem cared about and supported through her philanthropic giving. The Co-Trustees believe this gift will help Camp HOPE participants reclaim part of the childhoods they have lost to trauma.” 

Greenwood noted the gift is also a reflection of the late philanthropist’s long and enduring commitment to CFJ and the crisis and supportive services it provides annually to approximately 4,000 domestic and sexual violence victims of all ages.  

Elizabeth Prfiem, who passed away in 2017, was the daughter of a Polish immigrant coal mining family who moved to Bridgeport from Scranton, Penn. after World War II. She went on to become the publisher of the former Bridgeport Post (now the Connecticut Post). Her commitment to community philanthropy was recognized when she became the first female Ringmaster of Bridgeport’s Barnum Festival in 1986.

“Elizabeth Pfriem had an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of women and children in the Greater Bridgeport area and her generosity of spirit was reflected in her efforts to support anyone impacted by abuse,” said Greenwood. “We will forever be indebted to her and her foundation for its support of domestic and sexual violence survivors in our region.” 

Camp HOPE is a free, confidential program open to children ages 7-17 who have been impacted by abuse of a domestic or sexual nature. Qualified campers include CFJ clients, the children of its clients, or young people referred by one of the nonprofit’s many community partners. 

Each summer Camp HOPE campers spend a week on site at YMCA Camp Hi-Rock in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires, where they engage in all the joys of a traditional summer camp experience, along with a therapeutic curriculum.  After the camp session ends, campers continue to work with CFJ’s staff as part of its Pathways to HOPE mentoring program. 

As a result of the Pfriem Foundation’s gift, the program will add several new components beginning in the summer of 2021 including: 

  • A STEM-focused program that will engage participants in a curriculum steeped in technology, engineering and math throughout the school year. 
  • A creative arts literacy focused component which will expose campers to dance, music and theater.
  • A Pathways to Education mentorship program focused on helping campers access opportunities and develop the skill set necessary to pursue post-secondary education at colleges, universities and vocational schools. 
  • A leadership and community engagement program that will encourage campers to give back by engaging in community service, while fostering their leadership skills.
  • The free services of a full-time staff clinician. 

To learn more about the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport visit or contact CFJ’s Camp HOPE coordinator Sasha Collins at

]]> (Beth Fitzpatrick) Places Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:13:26 -0400
Goodwill “Give Back” to Benefit Connecticut Restaurant Relief Fund

Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut today announced “The Goodwill Give Back,” an initiative to support employment recovery in the restaurant industry. For every 5,000 donation instances to Goodwill this April the nonprofit will donate $1,000 to the Connecticut Restaurant Relief Fund. The mission of the CT Restaurant Relief Fund is to provide immediate financial relief to Connecticut’s restaurant industry with funds designed to save these businesses and protect its workforce.

“Through our Career Centers and Community Employment Services, Goodwill has connected thousands of individuals to employment opportunities in the restaurant industry,” Jeff Wieser, President & CEO, Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut said. “The restaurant industry’s recovery is a critical part of Goodwill’s effectiveness in helping to get our communities back to work, and we are proud to support the Connecticut Restaurant Relief Fund.”

Funds from the Connecticut Restaurant Relief Fund are distributed to restaurants still in operation in the form of grants and funds are to be used to keep their doors open and workers employed.

“The Connecticut Restaurant Association represents 8,500 restaurants and their 160,000 food service employees. In Goodwill, we found a partner who understands how challenging the pandemic climate is for these organizations and their employees,” Scott Dolch, Executive Director, Connecticut Restaurant Association, said. “Just as Goodwill remains committed to helping put Connecticut residents back to work, we remain committed to supporting employees of the restaurant industry during this time of significant job disruption and loss.”

Starting April 1, 2021, all donations made at Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut’s retail stores and donation centers will count towards “The Goodwill Give Back.” For every 5,000 donation instances the nonprofit will donate $1,000 to the Connecticut Restaurant Relief Fund. For more information and to find a location to drop off your donations, visit:


Goodwill is a non-profit organization that helps individuals, businesses, and communities come together to support people with disabilities, economic disadvantages, and other barriers to employment. Last year, Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut (GWNC) helped 895 Connecticut residents find work. Donations of goods and revenue generated from store sales power this mission, with more than 90% reinvested into the programs and services strengthening Connecticut families. GWNC is headquartered in Bridgeport, Conn., and has store, donation, and career center locations around the state. To learn more, visit:

]]> (Co-Communications) Charities Sun, 28 Mar 2021 11:10:21 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Bridgeport (Reimagined): The Cannoli Pie Company

Why Small Businesses Matter Reimagined

Small businesses matter - now more than ever. They are answering the call with innovation and determination like never before.

We hope you join us in supporting them by sharing their story far and wide and shopping local! We are thankful to Fairfield County Bank for their continued support and for making this series possible.

Step inside The Cannoli Pie Company!

Three questions with Victoria Sarro, co-partner of The Cannoli Pie Company.


What do you want the community to know? Are there ways for the community to help you and other local businesses to prosper?

Our business was started by John Dimarco who had Luigi’s Bakery in Bridgeport for 50 years. His love of baking and people is the foundation of this business and he is still going strong all these years later!

Are you offering any new products or ways for customers to purchase your products or services?

The cannoli pie is the best selling product and our main focus. We believe in the old philosophy of doing one thing and do it right! Also, it’s delicious!

How have you reimagined your business?

What was once a bakery is now a wholesale manufacturing company selling cannoli pies into major grocery chains including all Stop & Shop locations. We are also available in many local small business outlets throughout the state of CT. We are working with major distributor partners to increase our footprint throughout the northeast. And we are available nationwide through our partnership with!

The Cannoli Pie Company is located at 391 Lincoln Ave in Bridgeport, Visit them online here, and make sure to check out their Facebook page as well!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

]]> (Dan) Places Thu, 18 Mar 2021 09:43:59 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Bridgeport: Uniformz

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT Uniformz!

Four questions with Pieter Coenraads, founder of Uniformz.

Why did you start your business?

After 25 years in corporate (marketing-related) jobs, I was laid off during the 2009 recession and decided I wanted to start or purchase my own business. I bought, moved, and rebranded a small Bridgeport school uniform business just in time for a new local public school dress code mandate. Almost immediately it became clear that there was a market for selling scrubs, which over the years became our primary offering. As a natural extension, we provide embroidery services, not just for medical businesses and schools, but also for many other types of local companies and individuals.

What is your best-selling product/service?

Our best-selling products are scrubs, shoes, and embroidery. While the school business declined last year due to Covid-19, the scrub business has gone in the opposite direction.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?

Our favorite lunches are from San Remos and Hong Kong! People's United Bank has been an instrumental financing partner, including the recent purchase of our building. Hector from Lowe's Construction did a great job remodeling the interior. Our parking lot was repaved quickly and professionally by our friends at GPIC. And Roberto at Dilley Floors put in beautiful flooring to handle all our traffic. A special mention to the Bridgeport Caribe Little League (BCYL), which we support as a uniform supplier for their baseball and basketball programs as well as a sponsor.

Have you "reimagined" your small business?

I constantly reimagine my business! I equate it to how large campuses build their walkways: let people walk through the grass first to create clear paths, then build them. Our customers tell us what they want all the time. If we hear about something new often enough, we act!

Uniformz is located at 4008 Main Street in Bridgeport. Visit Uniformz online here, and make sure to check out their Facebook page as well!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

]]> (Dan) Places Mon, 15 Mar 2021 14:47:57 -0400
Sunday Jazz Brunch at Black Rock Social House

Enjoy Sunday Jazz Brunch with the amazing New Haven Jazz Underground, plus a delicious brunch menu at the Black Rock Social House.

]]> (Black Rock Social House) Places Mon, 15 Mar 2021 14:40:10 -0400