To the Editor:

On Feb. 4, after a particularly cold night, a homeless man was found dead on the steps of Westsider Records on the Upper West Side of New York City.

He was discovered only after people stepping over him realized he wasn't moving.

Tragically, this horrendous story is not news. It barely merited a mention in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal.

Also tragically, stories such as this are not limited to cities such as New York or Los Angeles. Even in our nicest suburbs or quaintest hamlets, even in one of the most affluent counties of Connecticut, the problems of homelessness, hunger, unemployment or under-employment can be found with little difficulty.

Thankfully, there are people and organizations in our communities who work tirelessly to improve the lives of those in need.

Here in New Milford, one such organization is Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House, now housed in the Richmond Citizen Center at 40 Main Street, adjacent to First Congregational Church of New Milford.

Seven days a week, 365 days a year, the men and women, and occasionally children, who volunteer at Loaves & Fishes prepare, cook and serve free, hot, nutritious meals and bag lunches to the poor and less fortunate of the New Milford community.

They do so thanks to the generosity of those, like local restaurants and supermarkets. who donate food to keep their pantry stocked.

Both the patrons of, and volunteers at, Loaves & Fishes go by a different name - your neighbors.

Now, Loaves & Fishes is planning to build new quarters along Bridge Street in New Milford to continue its good work on behalf of your neighbors in need.

On Saturday, Nov. 7 from 5 to 7:30 pm, a group of accomplished poets and writers, and very talented musicians, will gather for our fourth annual Voices of Poetry/Thanks for the Giving event at the parish hall of St. John's Episcopal Church, located at 7 Whittlesey Avenue in New Milford.

They’ll be there to to offer their words, voices and music to raise support, and needed money, for Loaves & Fishes.

Like the volunteers at Loaves & Fishes, none of those poets, writers or musicians will receive a nickel for his/her time or trouble.

There is a suggested donation of $20 per person for those attending this event. As with our three previous Voices of Poetry/Thanks for the Giving events, every cent collected will go to Loaves & Fishes.

Those who wish and are able to donate more are welcome and urged to do so.

Donations to Loaves & Fishes can be made by cash, check or credit card. Donors would receive receipts for tax-deductible contributions and, more importantly, abundant thanks.

Those who do not wish, or cannot afford, this suggested donation are nevertheless welcome to attend this event. Just as Loaves & Fishes turns no one away from its doors, no one will be turned away from this event due to lack of funds.

We thank Rev. Jack Gilpin and the parishioners of St. John's for graciously hosting this Voices of Poetry event, without asking for so much as a nickel to reserve or use the church's space.

We urge Mayor Patricia Murphy, her Democratic challenger, attorney David Gronbach and all of the members of the New Milford Town Council, regardless of political affiliation or ideology, to join us at this worthwhile event, and to invite their friends and neighbors, too.

After all, charity, like hunger, knows no political party and the patrons at Loaves & Fishes are no less their constituents than the patrons at the most expensive restaurants in town.

We hope to see you there. Even if you cannot attend this event, please consider donating your time, money or food to Loaves & Fishes. They need all three.

Thanks for the giving.

Neil Silberblatt

Founder

Voices of Poetry

New Milford