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Westport Sunrise Rotary Serves Up Holiday Barbecue At Shelter

The Sunrise Chefs - Dennis Wong, Eric Zielinski and Mario Sa’Cuto Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs
Anil Nair and Eric Zielinski, and Dennis Wong and Mario Sa’Cuto flanking Sa’Cuto’s grandson Tommy, a Coleytown Middle Schooler. Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs
The small bowl of Ann Lloyd’s potato salad, nicely presented Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs
And it tasted as good as it looked! Photo Credit: Roy Fuchs

WESTPORT, Conn. — Westport Sunrise Rotary served up its annual holiday cookout for residents and guests of the town’s men’s homeless shelter, the Gillespie Center, ensuring that everyone would enjoy the warm and sunny July 4th.

Seven club members — Mario Sa’Cuto, Eric Zielinski, Ann Lloyd, Mildred Bunche, Anil Nair, Dennis Wong and Roy Fuchs — prepared hot dogs, hamburgers and cheeseburgers for about 20 residents and a few guests.

Sunrise Rotary has "helped make this holiday a bit better for Gillespie’s residents for the last few years, and looks forward to doing the same next year," Sa’Cuto said.

Special thanks go to Lloyd for contributing a delicious and beautifully presented homemade potato salad; to Bunche, who organizes the club’s meal service at Gillespie for the first Saturday evening of every month; and to Sa’Cuto, chair of the club’s Hand On Committee. The group plans one event each month when members are invited to join and put into practice Rotary International’s motto — Service Above Self.

Zielinski and Sa’Cuto got the grills going. Those two, with last-minute drop-in chef Wong, cooked the food. Nair, Lloyd and Bunche served the dogs, burgers, potato salad, coleslaw — and even a bit of sauerkraut — as fast as the food came off the grill.

Dessert was Fuchs’ basket carved out of a watermelon and filled with fresh fruit.

The club’s guests enjoyed the barbecue, and thanked club members.

The Gillespie Center is owned and operated by Homes With Home , a Westport nonprofit that runs the 15-bed facility for single men across the street from Westport’s police station and the five-bed Hoskins Center for women next door.

Both provide shelter, meals and a wide range of social services to help residents re-enter society. Homes with Hope also runs a food pantry and a number of apartments and homes that afford independent living for individuals and families, and provides a range of social services for these clients.

Homes With Hope’s President and CEO Jeff Wieser recently told a local group: "Westport has the unique distinction of having a homeless shelter within one block of a Tiffany’s.”

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