Sean* was about 17, and mentally handicapped. His sister, Kate* was about
15 when they first arrived at the shelter in New Haven. Because they were
not accompanied by a parent, an exception had to be made to provide
them with temporary shelter. A shelter social worker contacted CCS for
assistance with their needs.
Though they didn’t like to talk much about their past, according to the
kids, the mother had abused and then abandoned them. The father, too,
had brutally abused them. Sean* had scars from knife wounds he had
received from his father. The two ended up at the shelter after the father
finally disappeared as well, leaving them to be evicted. They only had
In order to keep the kids together, when Sean* turned 18, he was made
Kate’s* legal guardian, despite the fact that, because of his handicap,
Sean* had the emotional maturity of a much younger child. Kate* was the
Sean* was a sweet, loving kid, always smiling who always greeted you with
a big hug and a kiss. Kate was more reserved. Undoubtedly, due to a
history of being betrayed by both of her parents.
As they were still attending high school, CCS was asked to help the kids
with back-to-school clothing and supplies. We took them shopping and
supplied everything they’d need to continue their educations; clothes,
backpacks, school supplies, food….Sean’s* proudest moment was when
he graduated from High School.
When the kids were re-located to a permanent home, CCS continued to
help with food, kitchen items, bedding, clothing, etc. on a regular basis.
They were doing great, even though their apartment was in a dangerous
section of New Haven. CCS continued to help the two for a couple of
years. Sean* got a job. Kate* had a boyfriend who treated her well. And
then, one day, on his way to work, Sean* was hit and killed by a truck on
his bike...We miss him terribly.
Today, Kate* is still with her boyfriend and they have two children. They
don’t need our help anymore, but they will always be very special to us.
Miriam* was a 77-year-old woman with very limited mobility when we first
met. She suffered from emphysema and severe arthritis. She had one
son who lived 8 hours away. Woodbridge Human Services was seeking
someone to assist with grocery shopping on a regular basis. As Miriam’s*
health declined, her needs grew; shopping, cooking, cleaning, home and
yard maintenance…. even bathing. After a couple of years, she became
mostly unable to walk. A daily trip to the bathroom was about all she could
manage. A few years later and she was completely bedridden. No-one
could convince her that the time had come to leave her home.
CCS assisted Miriam* for approximately 8 years before she finally fell and
broke her hip. After that, the nursing home staff could not allow her to
return to her home. She has since been relocated to a nursing home
closer to her son. But thanks to CCS and a network of volunteers and
staff, she was able to remain in her own home for an extra 8 years.
* Names have been changed
CCS was first referred to Cathy* and her family by Woodbridge Human
Services when her children were just 8 and 1 1/2. The children are 17
and 10 now. Her husband, Frank* was unable to walk without assistance
due to problems with both knees. He could not work. Cathy* suffers from
severe, uncontrolled diabetes. The family’s poverty has a direct,
negative impact on her disease. Inexpensive, filling foods, like pasta,
are strictly off-limits. Cathy* often goes without eating at all, so her
children have enough. Again, long periods without food are dangerous
for diabetics. Needless to say, Cathy* routinely suffers from diabetes-
related complications. She counter-acts low-sugar with candy to quickly
raise her sugar levels, instead of eating balanced, regularly scheduled
Just last year, Cathy’s* husband died. The children are devastated.
Cathy* is lost and lonely, and is still not eating properly. She suffers from
depression, but is unable to receive appropriate treatment, once again,
due to her poverty. Families who are on state insurance, if they are
fortunate enough to even qualify, find that many doctors do not
participate, due to the ridiculously low reimbursements by the state. It’s
a catch-22. Patients must be destitute to qualify, only to find out there
are few participating doctors to treat their illnesses. As is the case with
most depression patients, to Cathy*, it seems hopeless.
CCS is working with Cathy* to get her into a job-training program and to
urge her to seek help for her depression. It is a long, uphill battle which
requires both dedication, and patience.
On a regular trip to the Hill Section of New Haven, we were approached
by a man who was terribly disfigured with burn scars. He assumed we
worked at the shelter where we were delivering a truckload of
donations. He was waiting patiently for a box of cereal. When he was
informed that the food pantry was closed, his face fell.
We were able to produce some Stop & Shop gift cards and a bag of food
and clothing for him. He was so grateful that he gave me a hug with
tears in his eyes. He expressed his deepest appreciation before
pedaling off on his bike. It wasn’t until after he was gone, that one of
our board members realized he was a childhood friend of her husband’s
who had been horribly burned as a child. Just circumstance? I think
not. As the saying goes, “There, but for the Grace of God….”
Diane* was very, very tired. The mother of four, was back with her
children at the CCA Family Shelter in New Haven. It wasn’t the first time
her family had ended up on the street with no-place to live. Her
husband, a college-educated alcoholic, couldn’t hold a job. Their family
had been evicted...again. Diane* became very close to one of the
workers at CCA, and told her how very tired she was of living this way–
struggling to keep a roof over the heads of her children. Her husband,
Jim* is a nice, intelligent, caring man, who wants what’s best for his
children. Unfortunately, his alcoholism is stronger than he is. One
night, while sitting on the couch watching TV, at just 39 years old, Diane’
s* weary heart finally stopped, leaving her alcoholic husband to raise
the children. He regularly calls CCS looking for food, clothes, and
Holiday Gifts for the children. While he rarely asks for anything for
himself, he has not, unfortunately been able to overcome his
alcoholism, and the family continues to struggle with poverty every day.
One very cold winter day, as CCS volunteers unloaded yet another
truckload of donations, a woman from one of the apartments upstairs
approached. Volunteers told her, if she needed anything at all for her
or her children, to help herself. She turned to her son and said, “See?
People do care.” It turns out that they had been burned out of their
apartment and lost all of their belongings. Our volunteers were able
to offer a little bit of hope to that family in their time of need. Shortly
afterward, there was another fire at the shelter, itself, and the family
lost their replacement items, as well. CCS was able to help with some
of their needs after the second fire as well.
Compassionate Community Services is fortunate to be able to provide immediate assistance to
many people who would otherwise fall through the cracks. We are available days, nights, and
CCS is not bound by restrictions or guidelines limiting our ability to help those in need whenever
the need arises.
CCS helps thousands of people in one way or another every year, many anonymously. Other
families need our assistance for years, depending on their circumstances.
CCS has always been available to help each and every family that is referred to us as needed, for
as long as they need us. Friendship is always included, at no extra charge.
We could go on and on with stories like these from the thousands of people we have met and
helped over the years. Every person has a story. And every one of them could break your heart.
That’s why we are so driven to do what we do.
Since 1988, CCS has been reaching out to those in need. We have been offering emotional
support, friendship, food, clothing, house-wares, furniture, back-to-school items, holiday gifts,
hugs, encouragement, and so much more for 17 years. And we have been able to do this all
without any government support to date.
Over the last 17 years, through the very generous support of local citizens and businesses, we
have been able to help thousands of children and their families for the holidays, and throughout
the year. Thanks to dedicated, caring volunteers, our elderly clients can rely on regular visits,
cards, and calls. They are like our family. And we truly care about them.
Since 1988 CCS has collected and distributed a huge amount of in-kind donations each, and
every year worth an estimated $125,000-$130,000 per year! Over the course of 17 years, that
amounts to MORE THAN TWO MILLION DOLLARS WORTH of food, clothing, furniture, gift items,
house-wares, computers, and more!
And we plan to continue serving the Elderly, Sick, Homeless, and Needy well into the future. But
we can’t do it without help from people like you...