By Amy Glenn
Christian Benedetto, Jr. is a community man.
Whether the community is family, Marines, the military writ large, fellow PTSD sufferers, or his home state of New Jersey, Benedetto is a committed, creative, and steadfast member.
That dedication to community, service, and giving back is what led Benedetto to Bridges Outreach, a New Jersey-based organization, and its new program Project Connect.
Bridges supports people suffering homelessness in local communities by bringing the housed and the homeless together through volunteerism. Each year, more than 2,500 people volunteer with the organization to provide meals and other necessary items to 20,000 homeless people in Newark, Irvington, and New York City.
Project Connect, a program launched by Bridges in 2014, aims to provide Newark’s homeless community with a path to housing and independence.
Through this program, the homeless community can access medical care, legal services, jobs, housing, and IDs. Case managers are also available to develop goal and action plans.
Benedetto, wanting to support the organization, launched a donation drive with his church to create toiletry kits, which Bridges passes out to people living on the streets.
“When Christian heard about Bridges’ outreach, he coordinated with his church to make over 100 ‘super’ toiletry kits, which included, in addition to the usual items, socks, hand warmers and other cold-weather necessities,” said Lois Bhatt, Executive Director of Bridges. “We were delighted to deliver the kits to people in need on Christian’s behalf.”