Gillespie Center keeps residents safe and healthy with help from community

Jacob Greenberger '22, Staff Writer

The Gillespie Center Pantry is open day and night for donations of both food and sanitary products. (Photo by Jacob Greenberger ’22)

In a time of need, Westport citizens have continued to support each other with donations large and small. Last week, the Staples Lacrosse Association food drive was able to make donations of over $1000 and 1000 food items to the Homes with Hope Gillespie Center’s Food Pantry. The donations were made with the help of the Howard family, representing the Staples lacrosse team.

The donations couldn’t have come at a more critical time. They are considered a big help by the Gillespie Center and their residents as many are struggling as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread. 

“We decided to donate there because they are in need of a lot more help than we are,” Charlie Howard ՚22 said. “My family decided that we wanted to donate to a local place that could help the people within the Westport community.”

“My family decided that we wanted to donate to a local place that could help the people within the Westport community.”

— Charlie Howard '22

The Gillespie Center is already taking active measures to ensure that their residents stay safe and well-fed. Their website lists items to donate– both food and sanitary items such as soap and toilet paper. In order to comply with social distancing guidelines, the residents have also been moved to hotels and have been given separate hotel rooms. 

In a letter to the community, Gillespie Center President Ryan Soto assured the community that proper measures were being taken to keep the residents safe. 

We have moved residents of The Gillespie Center to a local hotel giving them space to practice social distancing. Program Directors and case management staff are now at the hotel 24/7,” Soto said. “We will order meals for all of our Community Kitchen guests and Gillespie residents from local restaurants. This will also allow us to better protect our community and support local restaurants that also need help.”

However, with all the Gillespie Center is doing, the donations were very important to the success of the shelter. With their kitchens closed, donations are a very critical source of food for the shelter.

“Food drives are a very easy thing to organize,” Howard ՚22 said, “but their contribution to helping people is very large.”