Operation Hope: Ending Hunger and Homelessness. One Person at a Time.

When Ryan Sheppard, a CPA and Partner at the Fairfield-based Knight Rolleri Sheppard CPAS accounting firm, who has extensive experience in tax and business consulting for privately held companies, taxation for individuals, and not-for-profit organizations, discovered Operation Hope he was intrigued. Upon learning how the organization was utilizing its limited resources to have such a profound impact in the community, Sheppard was more than impressed—he knew he had to get involved. 

At its core, Operation Hope aims to end hunger and homelessness for Fairfield neighbors in need. “We believe that everyone deserves supportive relationships, hope for the future and a place to call home,” explains Carla Miklos, Executive Director for nearly 15 years. Miklos met Sheppard over a decade ago which prompted him to become a Board Member, and then ultimately Treasurer. Sheppard regards OH under Miklos’ leadership as “critical” to Fairfield. “My uncle was homeless for many years, which is when I realized the connection between homelessness and mental illness,” states Sheppard. “Additionally, in many cases homelessness can be caused by unexpected events which can leave mothers or fathers caring for their children who have no place to live. OH offers a hand up and a support system to aid families in need and I think that’s pretty amazing.” 

Operation Hope provides the opportunity to experience transformative change. Their programs and services focus on eliminating hunger and homelessness and are designed to help people solve their crises and build stability in an environment in which compassion inspires dignity and hope. Fundamental resources include a Homeless Resource Center, a Community Kitchen, a Food Pantry, an Affordable Housing Program, a Clinical Support Team, and many Community Collaborations. 

Uniquely born out of a compassionate community who rallied around the idea that we can take care of our own, 35 years later OH not only provides service for struggling neighbors, but also provides the community a vehicle for providing service to others. So how can you get involved? Due to Covid, OH has temporarily limited many of their traditional volunteering opportunities. However, we’ve compiled some safe volunteer opportunities for the whole family:

For Adults (and Families)

Get Cooking: Whether it’s a solo endeavor, a family affair, or a cooking party with friends, cook up meals for a family of four in aluminum foil containers with the flat covers to distribute at the Food Pantry.

No Hostess Gift Needed: When you host your next gathering, ask guests to forgo the traditional hostess gift and instead bring a cleaning supply, toiletry, food, or cash donation.

Summer Tag Sale: Become a host site for Town Wide Tag Sale event.

Smooth Move: Create move-in baskets with much needed items such as cleaning supplies, household items, and bathroom necessities.

Operation Office: Host a “dress down day” and collect a fee for participants to donate to OH.

Brown Bag It: OH can never have enough brown paper grocery bags for use in The Pantry.


Just for The Kids:

Get Baking: Help your child/ren host a bake sale; donate the proceeds to OH.

Lemonade for All: Help your child/ren create a lemonade stand; donate the proceeds to OH.

Charitable Chores: Have your kids help around the house for extra cash to donate to OH.

Birthday Gift Exchange: In lieu of birthday gifts, have your child ask for donations to OH.

Food Drive: Help your child/ren organize a local food drive in your neighborhood, or with your favorite club or team.

Baking Party: Help your child/ren host a group of friends to bake for the Community Kitchen or Food Pantry.

Scavenger Hunt: Take kids to a local supermarket with a list of items to find; donate the items to the Food Pantry 

To learn more, visit operationhopect.org. For volunteering and/or joining a board committee, contact Michelle Stearns mstearns@operationhopect.org

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