New London Salvation Army to Feed Homeless after Church Collapse
By: Vanessa Blasi
Posted: Jan 30, 2024 / 05:23 PM EST
Updated: Jan 30, 2024 / 05:23 PM EST
Author: Brooke Griffin
Published: 12:27 PM EST January 26, 2024
Updated: 12:32 PM EST January 26, 2024
NEW LONDON, Conn. — When the roof caved in at First Congregation Church in New London, it not only took away the home of its current occupants but also those who every morning show up for a hot meal.
The breakfast program has served those in need for the past 20 years, and city officials, along with officials with Engaging Heaven Church who bought the building in 2015, said they're not going to let the tragedy stop them from holding the service.
It's just a matter of finding another home.
The church serves around 70 people breakfast every weekday morning, and the community made sure that despite the destruction, that service continued Friday.
Held at The Salvation Army just down the street, breakfast sandwiches, parties, coffee, and juice were donated and laid out with the door open, welcoming people to the relocated breakfast club.
“It was amazing to see the community pull together," said New London Mayor Michael Passaro, "Faith communities pull together; we actually ended up with three or four [locations] to choose from, so we pulled together, picked the best one, and got organized for this morning. It worked out great.”
Beloved Carter, a volunteer and church member, said they rallied instantly to try and figure out a place where they could feed the community just like usual.
"We did not want that to stop," said Carter. "We may have options but there are people who don’t. We want to make sure we continue as normal as possible with our community and those in need.”
“We will regroup and immediately come up with a plan for going forward. There will not be one day where someone is not fed,” city official Jeanne Milstein said.
The church also housed all food and clothing donations for those in need. Carter said that the amount of debris and rubble will have them starting from scratch.
The collapse is still being investigated, and nobody is allowed inside the remains of the structure for any reason until inspectors deem it safe.