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St. James was awarded Faith Community of the Year in 2016?

Friendship Service Center


On February 8, 2015, parish members convened for the Discernment Meeting and voted to select the Friendship Service Center, located in New Britain, as its focus for sustained mission wherein the entire parish may become involved.


The Friendship Service Center (FSC) is a nonprofit organization that provides food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless.  The FSC uses a three pronged approach: food and shelter are provided to all in need, there is a community outreach and support ministry, and they also provide permanent supportive housing.   Their mission statement is, "to provide friendship and direct service to the poor and needy of Central Connecticut, including ownership and operation of housing for the poor."

The Community Kitchen provides free hot lunches 5 days a week to those in need and also provides 3 meals a day seven days a week to shelter residents and former residents.  There is an Emergency Shelter with 37 beds that offers laundry services.  Each resident is assigned a service coordinator to develop an action plan.  Services include counseling, crisis intervention, goal setting, housing assistance and referral service, e.g., substance abuse treatment, education, job training, child care, etc.  There is a Transitional Living Program that ranges 6-24 months for 15 single, homeless adults.  Five of the 15 rooms are designated for veterans.  

The Emergency Needs Homeless Prevention Ministry is a program that provides financial assistance and referrals.  The PATH Homeless Outreach Program reaches out to the chronically homeless to bring them "inside" so the issues which prevent them from seeking help can be addressed.

PEAK Housing provides permanent supportive housing.  These apartments are scattered throughout the New Britain area and PEAK pays the rent while the participants pay a fee based on family income.  Staff facilitates client/tenant relations so their needs are met and the client is afforded the opportunity for successful independent living in the community.  Arch Street Housing consists of 21 one, two, and three bedroom apartments for once-homeless individuals and families who have overcome their challenges toward the goal of living independently in apartments of their own.  This program provides case management services as well.  Home at Last housing provides the chronically homeless, disabled adults to live in 10 apartments located in the New Britain area.  These individuals have substance abuse and/or physical or mental issues, the most vulnerable population for chronic homelessness.  Again case management services are provided to ensure they remain in stable housing as they work toward successful independent living in the community.   


Much more information is available at

How Can You Help?


Volunteers to serve the homeless and hungry at New Britain’s Friendship Service Center.  This takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday each month. 

We are committed to staff the kitchen with 5 volunteers.  There have been approximately 24-28 volunteers throughout the last seven months of 2015. seven of them full-time and 20 part-time/substitute volunteers.  Ed and Barb Preneta also led a group to volunteer on Christmas Eve. Altogether, approximately 1100 lunches have been served by our volunteers for 2015.  

The kitchen at Friendship Service Center has a professional staff headed by Chef Gerry Waldo. The staff plans the menu, provides recipes, ingredients and directions.  Volunteers are asked to help prep the food, serve it to well over 100 people, and then clean up.  There is a wide range of tasks, some of which don’t need a lot of “stand-up time.” Carpools from St. James will be set up if needed.


Sign-up sheets are posted in the parish hall.  For more information, please contact Armen Slusarz at 860-916-7554 or



Shown above is the team, St. James Heelers, who walked on May 30, 2015, to raise funds for Friendship Service Center and Food Share.  The next annual Walk Against Hunger will take place on May 3, 2016.


The day was bright and sunny and into the 70’s; perfect weather for the over 4,000 walkers who participated in the Walk Against Hunger. Included in the group were more than a dozen members of the St. James Heelers.  A contagious uplifting spirit as well as a band of drummers keeping the beat encouraged the walkers through the 1.9 mile hike around Bushnell Park. Afterwards, walkers were treated to ice cream at Hartbeat Park.


The Friendship Service Center table was manned by Barbara Lazarski and Executive Director, Ellen Perkins Simpson.  The Friendship Service Center Goal for 2015 was to raise $23,500.  Preliminary numbers show that the 10 Friendship Service Center Walk Teams have raised $20,760, enabling them to receive 80% of their funds raised with the remainder going to Foodshare.  St. James raised $2,075 for FSC.

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