Hospital staff members provide backpacks, school supplies for students

September 12, 2014 By Kimberly Gensicki

(New Britain, Conn.) – With the start of a new school year, families and their school-age children staying at the Friendship Center got a welcome surprise on Aug. 20 from Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) staff members who brought 26 new backpacks filled with supplies for the students.

The backpacks complete with pencils, pens, notebooks and more are for students, kindergarten through college, who reside at the center, the only facility in New Britain providing emergency shelter for men, women and children.

The backpack collection was the latest endeavor of several HOCC staff members who earlier this year “adopted” the center after Monica Lord, RN, MBA, who works on HOCC’s medical/telemetry unit, queried her colleagues about helping others in the New Britain community in other ways.

“I wanted to do something in the community. I wanted to give back to the community we serve,” says Lord, who initiated the relationship with the Friendship Center.

Several HOCC staff members have also, on their own time, volunteered to serve food at the center’s soup kitchen and staff donates items like shampoo and toothpaste for Friendship Center residents. The backpack collection was their latest project.

“There was a need in all of our housing programs for some of the students going back to school this year,” says Donna Bergin, Friendship Center’s director of programs.

“It was a tall order and it was filled,” she says, adding, “The parents were very, very grateful.”


Hospital staff members provide backpacks, school supplies for students 

The Friendship Center, which serves up to 37 people, includes 14 beds for families. The agency also serves 15 single adults in its transitional living program and oversees 56 supportive housing units. Clients work with case managers as they transition through the continuum of services. The center’s soup kitchen, which welcomes volunteers, provides free lunches to anyone in need 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit

The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) is a 414-bed, 32-bassinet acute care teaching hospital with two campuses, New Britain General and Bradley Memorial in Southington. A member of Hartford HealthCare, HOCC services include emergency, inpatient, surgery, laboratory, outpatient, and radiology. Among specialty areas are cardiovascular care, metabolic health, obstetrics, oncology, orthopedics, and psychiatry/behavioral health. For more information, please visit; for a physician referral, call 1-800-321-6244.