Valentines Day CONNECT by AYUDH Yale

Yale University, the Saint Thomas More Catholic Center, and AYUDH Yale-Connecticut teamed up to spread kind words and joy to their brothers and sisters in New Haven, CT, this year on Valentine's Day. Together they made 144 Blessing Bags with socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, chapstick, bandaids, a bag of peanuts, a chocolate bar, some kind words, and information on local resources including the soup kitchen schedules and winter warming center shelters for the guests of the Saint Thomas More Soup Kitchen. The supplies were generously funded by the Yale University Graduate & Professional Student Senate and Community Service Committee, and the event was also supported by a Compassion-in-Action Series grant from the Yale University Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life, the Saint Thomas More Catholic Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University, and the Yale School of Medicine Medical Student Council.

Valentines Day CONNECT by AYUDH Yale

May the tree of our lives be rooted in the soil of love. May good deeds be the leaves, kind words be the flowers and peace be the fruit. May the world flourish as one family, united in love. May we thus be able to create a world in which peace and contentment prevail.” ~ Amma

 

Yale University, the Saint Thomas More Catholic Center, and AYUDH Yale-Connecticut teamed up to spread kind words and joy to their brothers and sisters in New Haven, CT, this year on Valentine’s Day.  Together they made 144 Blessing Bags with socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, chapstick, bandaids, a bag of peanuts, a chocolate bar, some kind words, and information on local resources including the soup kitchen schedules and winter warming center shelters for the guests of the Saint Thomas More Soup Kitchen.  The supplies were generously funded by the Yale University Graduate & Professional Student Senate and Community Service Committee, and the event was also supported by a Compassion-in-Action Series grant from the Yale University Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life,  the Saint Thomas More Catholic Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University, and the Yale School of Medicine Medical Student Council.

 

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the Yalies also came together to craft colorful hand-made cards that spoke volumes beyond their words, “You are LOVED” and “You are Beautiful.”  The soup kitchen guests were truly touched by the students’ kindness, some carefully keeping these inspiring words close to their hearts in their inside pockets to make sure they didn’t fall out during the meal. “Is this a Valentine for me?” one soup kitchen guest asked.  When she was handed a bag, she almost cried, “Oh!  This is the only Valentine I’ve gotten in years!”  The guests were also incredibly appreciative of all of the essential items, their faces especially brightening up as they received the socks that, at least for one day, ensured that they could finally have clean, warm, and dry feet during a long winter of slushy days.  AYUDH members got a chance to meet some of the soup kitchen guests during the lunch.  Here are a few of their stories.  (All of the names have been changed to respect confidentiality.)

 

Martha – New Haven is home

Martha has lived her whole life in New Haven.  After being homeless for two years, Martha is really glad to be in housing since 2012 and has become very knowledgeable about the resources available to help.  She has a cat named “Midnight” and likes to go on the computer, read books, and go for walks.  When asked what makes her laugh, Martha chuckled and said with a big smile, “I’m just a joyful person!”

 

Ted and Delilah – We love the people

Ted and Delilah live in a nearby town called Waterbury, CT.  They have two children, one seven-year-old and one twenty-one-year-old.  Ted and Delilah both like to read to their kids.  Delilah loves horseback riding and is excited that her seven-year-old is not as scared of the horses as he used to be when he was younger.  Ted likes motorcycling, as does his twenty-one-year-old.  As two Yalies played music amidst the cheerful atmosphere of the Saint Thomas More dining hall, Delilah explained that they like to come to the soup kitchen to eat because “we love the people.”

 

Martin – My son makes me laugh

Martin lives with his three sons, ages six, nineteen, and twenty-one.  When asked what makes him laugh, Martin immediately smiled and exclaimed “my son!”  Martin likes to work on the computer, as does his youngest son Dan.  Even though Dan is only six years old, he is already on the computer and enjoys the virtual game Roblox.  “Dan is really smart,” says Martin.  Martin is looking forward to being able to go back to school to study and work in IT Security.

 

Patrick – Making sure they get through school

Patrick moved to New Haven from Waterbury nine months ago.  He had just gotten out of jail and has since been sober and clean for ten months.  He likes it better in New Haven where the rent is cheaper and the housing and resources are better.  He has two children, a boy and a girl ages nine and seven, who live with their mother in Waterbury.  Having graduated himself, Patrick says his priority is to make sure his children get through school.  “I’m just a good father.  I’m there for my kids.”  He currently lives by himself but is looking forward to getting a stable job and being able to take care of his kids in New Haven.

 

Norman – Just a guy who likes video games

Norman has lived his whole life in New Haven.  Norman says he is just a guy who likes video games.  He says the games keep him busy and keep him out of trouble.  He says, “I hear some people say, ‘You’re a grown man, why are you playing video games?’ But I think I’m going to be playing video games until I’m sixty!”