After years of planning (and hoping and praying and collaborating and connecting and more planning), the day is here – we have moved to the Hands On Hartford Center for Community! The last week has been a whirlwind of activity, but as I catch my breath at the end of the week, I am simply overwhelmed with the hard work, generosity of spirit, teamwork and collaboration that has made all of this possible.
Volunteers helped us pack and unpack the entire pantry full of food, not to mention our offices. William B Meyer Moving Company moved boxes and furnishings from three different locations with speed and courtesy. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK donated 90 hours of moving services over a 12 hour day to move thirteen tenants into brand new apartments at 55 Bartholomew. Our construction team continued to work to finish up the commercial kitchen and last details of the building renovations, even as we moved in. IT Resources had our computers up and running the day after we moved in, no mean feat!
We wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the incredible generosity of so many, including the financial donors to our special campaign, “Moving Together, All Hands On.” Their gifts made the renovations to the building possible and will support our expanded operations, allowing us to serve more people, more comprehensively. Stephanie Boyce and Trevonn Coleman, housing case managers, deserve special acknowledgement for working long days shopping with tenants and helping them pack, assembling furniture, and soothing frayed nerves of those around them. And the master of this move, Director of Finance and Administration Pam Fitzgerald, made the whole endeavor, with all of its complications, work seamlessly – and not only work, but she kept us all in line with great humor, confidence and grace.
Volunteers, food pantry shoppers, and in-kind donors showed up at the Center for Community even as we moved in, and Board members brought plants to brighten tenants’ apartments. MANNA Community Meals continued to operate as we packed and unpacked, our weekend Backpack Nutrition Program deliveries were uninterrupted, and Senior Community Café operations are on schedule even as I write this. We are thrilled and almost used to seeing each other every day in one place. And throughout it all, I have been moved and incredibly grateful to be working in a community of colleagues, clients, collaborators, tenants, volunteers, donors, neighbors and friends who are all committed to working together to put their caring in action to strengthen community in Hartford.