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Trumbull Bids Farewell to Ann Marie Tarinelli

Tarinelli has been helping the homeless of Bridgeport for years by cooking for them and distributing donations of food, clothing and toiletries.

Ann Marie Tarinelli is at rest, after years of working for the homeless of Bridgeport.

The Trumbull resident, who started serving food to the homeless under the John Street viaduct and eventually turned it into the "Treasure Bistro" non-profit, died Jan. 11 of an illness at St. Vincent's Medical Center.

Her funeral mass at St. Theresa Church opened with "Amazing Grace." Her work with the homeless has also been called "amazing."

The Rev. Brian Gannon said Tarinelli had a "very beautiful soul."

"We gather here in the name of love, Ann Marie's love of everyone," he said.

When it comes to self-giving, "love can take on an incredible power," Gannon said, adding that "the works stay with us while she goes to the hands of the Lord."

"She loved them with a heart fueled by the love of Jesus Christ," Gannon continued. "Ann Marie chose to give of her heart to the poor."

She was buried at St. Michael Cemetery.

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In 2012, First Selectman Tim Herbst honored Tarinelli for her work. She had to cut back her service when she injured her hip but battled back and returned to the John Street viaduct.

Over the years, her work drew a following and volunteers spent Sundays as Tarinelli did in Bridgeport.

Earlier this week Herbst praised Tarinelli. "She was a true testament to the fundamental principle that one person can make a difference," he said.

The world could be a better place "if we could do a tenth" of Tarinelli's work, Herbst said.

Several Trumbull Patch users also praised her, as did Facebook user Patti Steeves:

"I met Ann Marie three years ago at John St underpass. I've noticed that with the other volunteers that would bring stuff down to give out....giving out what they had to those that would swarm them...there would be those of us that would hang back...not quite ready to ask for help, but yet needing it desperately. Ann Marie would seek out those people, and ask what they NEED...she would do all she could to be sure to get it to you.
There are those that would proudly boast of serving the homeless...Ann Marie would make the noise necessary to get the goods to bring to the homeless...but there are a lot of people that Ann Marie would help, quietly without the fanfare, for she did live Christ's words of doing for others in his name in secret. Especially when it came to the Loaves and the Fish.
I was blessed with her friendship, because we had love for our beloved pets. Her family of Maltese dogs were her life. As my dogs are to me. She often had me over at her home to break bread. I will miss her greatly."

PAT YACOVACCI January 21, 2013 at 07:18 PM
I understand she helped LINDA CERVERO AND OTHER GROUPS who have done this for many ,many years.
G. January 21, 2013 at 08:25 PM
I did this for over 10 years and never asked to be recognized - also the same for Linda Cervero - not sure why this woman gets all of this publicity - when if you go to the "John Street Site" on a sunday - you will not see people looking to be in the "headlines"!!!!
Elliott January 21, 2013 at 08:34 PM
there arent too many people like her. Eventhough I never knew her Its so sad to hear about this :-(
Ruby Begonia January 21, 2013 at 09:22 PM
This woman got all of this publicity because she looked for it and generated it.
Ruby Begonia January 21, 2013 at 09:34 PM
To set the record straight... The John Street effort began 23 years ago when parishioners from Triumphant Ministries of the East Side of Bridgeport discovered that homeless people were living in tents down in the area under the name of the King's Pantry. They started serving coffee and sandwiches to them. Through the years many other people and groups came to serve. St James Church distributes HUGE bags of toiletries and food on a regular basis. People come from Milford, Newtown and Fairfield to bring fruit, bagels, hot chocolate and entire meals, but are never recognized because THEY DON'T look for recognition. The Church of the Assumption in Westport are very generous in donating to people who cook and feed the very same people. They receive no recognition because they don't look for it.
Mara Brosler January 22, 2013 at 01:08 AM
I can't speak to her looking for recognition, but I know she made others more aware of a situation that clearly had existed for a while, and got some of them involved - myself and the students at Cong. B'nai Torah included. I can speak to the fact that Ann Marie acknowledged she was neither the first (nor the last) to provide assistance there, and how glad she was that others were also acting to respond to a need she could never fill. The very fact that so many people come from so many places, yet still there is a need, suggests that whether she looked for the publicity or it simply found her, it helped serve the purpose of getting more food and supplies "under the bridge". That was a major focus of her life, and she did much good. She will be missed.
Ruby Begonia January 22, 2013 at 08:08 AM
Matthew 6:1-4 ESV / 96 helpful votes “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Connie Nickson January 22, 2013 at 12:36 PM
All you so called religious people , Wow! I think God was quite happy with Ann Marie, she did a great job, and had a big heart. When I met her, she was not at all looking for attention, just support for the cause. Peace to all.
celtictee January 22, 2013 at 02:17 PM
@Connie - Agreed. How people can twist a true act of kindness into a selfish act motivated by the desire for recognition is beyond me. Sometimes in life there are truly charismatic people who have the ability to become the conduit for change. It does not take away from any other person or organization who may be doing the same thing, it only enhances the overall ability to get the job done.
mary seymour January 28, 2013 at 04:30 AM
why would someone feel the need to put down someones efforts when they are not here to defend themselves? selfish selfish, you are not her judge and jury only God is, she is missed by friends and family to those friends and family I offer deepest sympathy for the loss of your loved one
Karen Peck Schueler May 28, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Sorry to hear about anyone dying but I'm sorry I took 3 maltese from her, older ones as she charged 800 each for puppies and found out shortly after that 2 of them were lucky to be alive and cost thousands to make them healthy and the 3rd has lost most of her teeth due to neglect. The Male had a PDA and had to go to tuft medical for heart surgey and the younger female had Pyometra and was lucky because 2 days after I took her home she needed emergency surgey or she wouldn't have lasted another week. The older female has the teeth problems. Sorry had to get that out she used her back yard breeding to pay for feeding the homeless god knows how many dogs died in her care.

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