GCC Veterans Club Donates Almost 600 Mugs to Homes for the Brave Homeless Veterans

Monday, December 23, 2019

Gateway’s Veterans Club collected an initial 400 mugs this past spring and into the fall for Homes for the Brave, a transitional program for homeless veterans. Since then the mugs kept coming in, as recent as this December when FEC, Consultant kept giving and a Child Development teacher Linda Alston from GCC’s Early Learning Center donated another 50 mugs.thumbnail_image001.jpg

A thank you letter from Homes for the Brave to Richard Palinko GCC’s Veteran Representative stated, “On behalf of the residents and staff of Applied Behavioral Rehabilitation Institute Homes for the Brave, I wish to thank you and acknowledge your generous donation of 400 mugs for the residents that we received on August 6, 2019. No goods or services were provided in exchange
for your contribution,” stated the Chief Executive Officer ABRI Homes for the Brave Vincent

Rick Palinko wrote a blast email to Gateway students, faculty and staff that read, “March is Mug Month! The Gateway Veterans Club is sponsoring a Coffee Mug drive, We are collecting new and used coffee mugs for Homes for the Brave!”

“At the initial processing, the veteran will be issued a coffee mug for use at the facility, and then keep the mug after completion of the program. These simple coffee mugs are cherished by the veterans, as they consider them their first real personal property of a new beginning,” he said.

The collection point was a box labeled “Coffee Mugs” located at the Gateway North building entrance at Church Street and George Street. Our community responded generously and kept passing along the mugs, even through the winter as word got out about giving mugs to homeless veterans.

“The GCC Veterans Club started collecting in the Spring. We made monthly visits to see if there was anything they needed. When the residents check in. They get a mug. It is their first piece of kitchenware. It went from 400 mugs to almost 600, eight tea kettles, 25 sport bottles and 50 plates Gateway’s Linda Alston also gave 50 mugs.”

During the fiscal year 2019, ABRI provided housing and support to 184 homeless individuals, 94% who are veterans. With [Gateway’s] your help we were able to supply them with housing, nutritious meals, vocational services, and life skills coaching while they worked to secure employment, permanent housing, and healthy lifestyles, stated Santilli.

Companies around Connecticut like FCE Consultant, Inc from Orange, CT, specifically Todd Szymaszek, Ricky Cartagena, Bobby Delorenzo, Geri Mahler, Ross Mahler, Kristopher Mason, and Keven Burns donated many more mugs.

“On December 10, Geri Mahler corresponded, “Hi Richard, hope this message finds you well and you are enjoying the holiday season! I have a few more cases of coffee mugs to provide for Homes for the Brave. Would you be able to pick them up? I’ll make sure they are packed and ready.”

In January 2019, ABRI expanded the programming to include the Homes for the Brave Clinical Program, open to both residents and visiting veterans, providing access to recovery-oriented individual and group therapy to address the mental health and substance abuse needs in the local Bridgeport community.

“We deeply appreciate your kindness and dedication to the well-being of our residents, most of whom are veterans. Our program provides motivated homeless individuals with the support and skills training needed to become gainfully employed, contributing members of their communities. We extend our most sincere gratitude to you for helping our residents achieve their personal goals,” stated Santilli.