HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A big morning for a capital city charity that is celebrating a big milestone. The Open Hearth has been helping men turn their lives around and get back on their feet for 130 years.
“Ten, eleven years ago we did things for the Open Hearth,” said Jim Calhoun.
Legendary UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun is lending his support to this fundraiser for The Open Hearth, a multifaceted charity.
“You know for people who have gone off direction, things have happened in their lives. They didn’t plan to be at The Open Hearth, but conversely, The Open Hearth is there for shelter, for health, employment,” said Calhoun.
This is called the “Overcomers” fundraiser because many men helped by this group have overcome a lot, and they’ve been overcoming for 130 years in Hartford.
“The Open Hearth was founded in 1884. We have 110 beds. We serve homeless men through recovery and unemployment. Our motto is helping men help themselves,” said Marilyn Rosetti, The Open Hearth Executive Director.
When someone signs up for The Open Hearth, it is a full commitment to the program. In fact the men who slept in these beds last night are out right now working with programs associated with the Open Hearth.
There are many parts to the program, a homeless shelter to help men get off the streets, and a kitchen that serves more than 110,000 meals a year and a half way house for men on their way back into society after doing time. That’s how Donyale ended up here in 2005.
“At the time, just coming out of prison I was bitter to a lot of things and I really felt it was going to be difficult for me to make it without reverting back to old ways,” said Donyale Newman, The Open Hearth House Manager.
“If you’ve never experienced it, you don’t really know how to make it through it. And we have a lot of people there that have experienced it and we have a lot of good staff there and they really pushed you and motivated you to do the right thing,” said Newman.
And now he is the house manager, helping others turn their lives around just like he did.