Brian’s Angels Reach Central

Julia Conant, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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  • All of the Brian's Angels volunteers standing with their truck full of donations.

  • (Left to right) Pat Stebbins, Kim Margelot and Kathy Nelson help run a can and bottle drive for Brian's Angels Homeless Outreach.

While students prepared for Central Connecticut’s first home football game of the 2019 season, a can and bottle drive was held in Kaiser Lot in support of Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach.

Brian’s Angels is a Bristol-based nonprofit organization that assists the homeless in Bristol and the surrounding area. From 2 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the organization collected non-perishable donations, cans, glass and plastic bottles that can be redeemed in Connecticut.

They also held a bake sale and a 50/50 drawing in order to raise money for the non-profit. People who donated to Brian’s Angels on Saturday were offered a pin with the organization’s name on it and a homemade keychain in the shape of an angel.

The organization was named after Founder Pat Stebbins’s late son who took his own life after struggles with homelessness, addiction and mental illness.

“Brian was my youngest son who I lost in 1998 to suicide,” Stebbins shared. “I started doing [Brian’s Angels] in 2015, not even relating the two. I just saw a lot of homeless near where I lived and it was a very hot August day in 2015, and we started  by passing out cold water.”

After a substantial donation, the organization began to pick up the company.

“We went from [handing out] cold water to someone handing me $500 in cash,” Stebbins said. “I had to step up our game a little bit because that was an awful lot of water, so we started making ‘loving bags’.”

“Loving Bags” are 2.5-gallon bags that contain supplies homeless people may need or appreciate, such as non-perishable food items, brushes, deodorant and rain ponchos. These are distributed to whoever is outside and needs a bit of help or extra supplies.” 

The main goal of Brian’s Angels is to get homeless people back on their feet and headed in the right direction.

“It’s mostly about getting people services, [telling them] where they can go for help, whatever that next step for help is,” Stebbins said. “We’ll help them get to either social services, DSS, disability, however, we can direct people is what we do.”

Along with pointing people in the right direction, Brian’s Angels also gives supplies to the needy.

“We provide sandwiches, tents, sleeping bags, underwear, socks, boots, whatever people need to get from one day into the next,” Stebbins said.

Brian’s Angels is also working towards helping the homeless substantially better their ways, in ways such as receiving an education.

“We’re trying to get started with a few day programs going if possible,” Stebbins said. “We’re hoping to help people get their diplomas, whatever they need to do to go on to the next step from homelessness.”

Despite Stebbins being told that it was nearly impossible, the organization is 100 percent run by volunteers and has been going strong for four years. And like Stebbins lost her son, most of the volunteers on the fundraising committee have also lost someone close to them.

“This is how we keep ourselves going,” Kathy Nelson, a member of the fundraising committee said. “We keep busy. It’s a wonderful thing to give.”

Currently, Brian’s Angels gives coffee and a sandwich to approximately 35 homeless per day, as well as a place to watch television, take a nap or just relax and socialize.

Brian’s Angels’ Outreach center is open from 1 to 5 p.m. seven days a week, located at 99 Center St in Bristol.

The organization is currently looking for donations and volunteers. Financial donations should be sent to P.O. Box 2111, Bristol, CT 06010. Brian’s Angels can be found on Facebook at “Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach.”