Under the John Street Viaduct

Trumbull resident Ann Marie Tarinelli has been serving there Sundays for years and has no plans to stop despite recovering from a hip injury and the rough economy. And others have followed her.

Trumbull resident Ann Marie Tarinelli gets to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas twice.

In addition to the traditional days, she spends the Sundays afterward serving the less fortunate under the viaduct on John Street in Bridgeport.

At this year's Thanksgiving feast on Nov. 27, people of all ages lined up to be served by Tarinelli and those inspired by her non-profit "Hidden Treasure Bistro," which has been helping people for several years.

Robert Ortowski created "Proceedeth Word International Outreach Ministries" after hearing that Tarinelli had to cut back her service to one Sunday a month. "We were driving by and we saw Ann Marie. I started doing it once a week," he said.

Ortowski's group can be reached at 203-549-7096.

April Barron also joined in with her "Helping Hands Outreach," which serves people at the same location every Sunday.

"I feed the people. I embrace them. I know that I'm giving back," she said. To support Barron, call 203-908-7700.

Bessie Davis, who is homeless and stays in Bridgeport, said she doesn't eat all day on Sundays except when she goes the viaduct.

In addition to food, the volunteers hang clothing on a nearby fence and give out clothing and toiletries from their cars.

Kenneth Anderson of Bridgeport said the gathering is about more than food. "It's wonderful to see people gathering together. I come here for fellowship too," he said.

"She helps the community. She's very respectful," he said of Tarinelli.

Lucas Davitt said he returned to Bridgeport after spending years in Waterbury. He is staying at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission and is trying to obtain disability benefits because he has back problems. He is looking for an apartment and is on a waiting list for public housing.

The volunteers also served Nicole Rivera, 6, and her younger sisters, Christina and Jasmine, and their grandparents. The three girls also helped draft a wish list for many gathered there Sunday.

Donations, which should be marked with tags, can be dropped off at Tarinelli's home at 18 Country Lane in Trumbull. Call 203-268-5553 for more information. Also, blankets, toiletries and clothing are always needed. Tarinelli will give out the gifts on Dec. 25 under the viaduct.

The wish list is as follows:

1. Jasmine - Pink Mermaid Barbie

2. Kristina-Barbie with purple dress

3. Nicole-Fairy Rainbow Barbie

4. Sam- Wrestling dolls

5. Steve- Black Timberland boots -size 11, Men's

6. Laurie- Brown Timberland boots- size 11, Men's

7. Carman- Bed Sheets Queen

8. Marie-Boots, size 6 1/2, Women's 

9. Kenneth Anderson-Underwear, XL ,Hoodie, L , Men's

10. Herman- Boots, size 12, Men's

11. Andre- bag cosmetics per boy

12. Laura-work boots  size 6 1/2 , Men's

13. Kenny- men's tube socks size 10, Boots size 11, Men's

14. Lucas-boots size 10 1/2 Men's

15. Laurie- Queen sheets and blanket

16. Kalvin- sneakers size 12, Men's

17. L.P. -sneakers size 11, Women's

18. Gloria-sneakers size 8, Women's

19. Mario- boots size 8 1/2 , Men's

20. Aida- boots size 9, Women's

21. Laurie P- Size 10 socks, size 10 underwear, women's

22. Emma- shoes, size 10 women's

23. Rodeto- coat, socks, pants, boots size 9, Men's

24. Teddy- slippers size 6 1/2, bra size 44 D, women's 

25. Ramond- jacket 3X 

26. Chris P. - Jacket 3X, Men's

27. Bessie D.- a place to live

28. Sheila-boots (flat) size  9, Women's; coat size Medium, socks, gloves, hats

29. Laurie P- Grandson needs baby clothes and accessories

30. Gene- Boots  9 1/2, anything with Jets on it size Men's; Pittsburgh Stealers hat size L , Bible

31. Nat- Hoodies size 2X, Men's

32. Santana-Sweater  Large and Jeans size 34 Men's, Shoes size 8 1/2 Men's

33. George- sleeping bag size Large

35. Almaldo- shoes size 10  1/2 Men's 

36. Carmen Rivera-Boots 6 1/2 , Women's

37. Pablo- Coat Large, Men's

38. Dionisio- Coat Large, Men's

39. Alicia Boylware- Large coat, Boots (flat) size 9 1/2 ,Women's 

40. Brian Philips- Boots size 11 1/2, Men's

41. Herman, Boots size 12, Men's

42. Betty- Pocket Radio with Batteries

43. Kevin- socks, underwear boots size 12, Men's

Carol Banner December 01, 2011 at 01:33 PM
A great piece, Aaron. It's an eye-opener to see another reality so close to home. There, but for the grace of God, go I. It has put me in motion and I trust others are getting off the couch as well.
Aaron Leo (Editor) December 01, 2011 at 02:18 PM
Thanks Carol, I hope we can fill the wishlist.
Pam Georgas December 01, 2011 at 04:30 PM
An incredible story. It shows how one person can make a difference in many peoples lives. People often become complacent, because they don't believe their individual efforts can change the world. They can.
Jim Izzo December 01, 2011 at 11:28 PM
Excellent story and choice of topic, Aaron. We need more articles like it and more people like Ann Marie.
Aaron Leo (Editor) December 02, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Thanks. She does very good work. Someone just donated about 6 bags of clothes to her after the reading the story (so I am told).


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