BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — A steady stream of donations came into Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach in Bristol this season.
“This year, we’ve been so much more blessed with so many donations,” said Patricia Stebbins, the organization’s executive director.
She said the support has been overwhelming since the deaths of Lt. Dustin Demonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy, who were shot and killed last month. Both officers helped the organization.
Brian’s Angels is named after Stebbins’ son, Brian, who died by suicide in 1998 at the age of 24.
“It’s not even that it’s hard to talk about, it’s just hard to explain,” she said.
She’s focused on helping others and bringing awareness to Bristol’s growing homeless population. While she used to help 25 people a day, now it’s between 40 and 60.
“People can’t make it on their own anymore,” she said. “The homeless stories are ridiculous. People are finding themselves in positions that they would have never expected to find themselves in.”
That includes Paula Hynick, who has been living in a tent for more than a month. She’s been helped by Brian’s Angels.
“She gave me a hug, and it meant so much,” Hynick said. “And she gave me a place, a place to be warm, and food, and a tent, and a sleeping bag, and a backpack — everything I need to survive. So, I’m really grateful for her.”
Michael Fagan said it’s his sanctuary.
“When you rely on out there, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “You come in here, you’re safe, you’re warm, you’re fed.”
Wednesday, food and clothing donations took over the nonprofit’s walkways and hallways. Stebbins hopes donations come in throughout the year, and is grateful for the community’s help.
“I am very proud of what we’ve done, but I don’t want anyone to think that I think it’s because of me,” she said. “I think it’s the community.”
Brian’s Angels, located at 99 Summer Street, will be open from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving to provide meals to those in need.