Saturday, January 3, 2009

Aretha Franklin Meets Franklin Square

There was a very heartening small story (a news in brief-or boxers, your call) in Thursday's edition of The Day on a small-scale outreach this afternoon at the St Vincent de Paul Place soup kitchen on Main Street in Norwich. On the first Saturday of each month, Mayor Ben Lathrop will lead a team of city officials, family and friends to serve lunch at the St. Vincent de Paul Place soup kitchen. Today, the Mayor and members of his family along with Aldermen William Nash and Mark Bettencourt, the City Council Executive Assistant Evelyn Bessette and City Manager Alan Bergren, among others, will lift ladles and soupcons, starting at 11:30 a.m. through 1 p.m.

Mayor Lathrop cited a November New York Times story that chronicled a surge in demand at soup kitchens and food pantries and the need for volunteers to meet the need. The one I've shared is a similar story from the year previous. Actually the NY Times has been covering Hunger in America on a regular basis for more than ten years and doing more stories about it in Connecticut than any and/or all CT based newspapers combined. This is probably the story the Mayor is talking about. In return, The Day, on its editorial page last week, reported with relief, that the NY Times Corporation was finally selling its stock in the Boston Red Sox. Good to see one of our windows on the world has its head screwed on right in terms of reportorial responsibilities.

Times are tough and it's a marvelous way to begin the New Year with an act of selfless charity that reaches across socio-economic boundaries (with apologies to Bill Withers' "Lean on Me") on behalf of all of us in the Rose City to include those who type into the ether. And I applaud the Mayor who was quoted as saying, “We can, and will, help and do it with respect.”

And perhaps while he and the two aldermen have a moment in the course of what will prove, I'm sure, to be a very busy and respectful afternoon, the Mayor will listen to his council colleagues explain their decision at the 6 October 2008 City Council meeting (the Mayor was absent) on a request by the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government’s Committee on Homelessness for emergency financial aid ($3000) to the New London Hospitality Center (a year-round shelter that serves the homeless) so the Center could continue to provide emergency shelter services. Maybe Monday evening's revisiting of the issue will be different, though in what respect remains to be seen. "While money doesn't talk, it swears/Obscenity, who really cares?."
-bill kenny

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