By Chris Najdek & Brian Pinz
Usually my articles are satire, poking fun at political issues in our country, or just straight up silly comedy pieces that I write for some attention and to make people laugh. However, occasionally I need to do a serious piece to help those close to me, honor a loved one who passed, or help the world around me. This is one of those articles.
You probably haven’t heard of Pat Stebbins but we should all be lucky enough to know someone like her, and have someone like her in our community. Pat is the founder of “Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach” here in Bristol Connecticut. She founded the organization on August 15th 2015, in honor of her son who tragically passed away on March 10th 1998, just two weeks before his 25th birthday.
Her son Brian Pinz, suffered a period of homelessness before he passed away. Losing a child is without question the hardest thing a human being will ever have to go through. There is no handbook on how to survive it, and nobody should dare call themselves an authority on the issue and judge someone who is going though it. In this case Pat decided to take her pain and his memory and turn it into a positive situation for those who are going through the hardest time in their life.
When I asked Pat when she decided to start the outreach in Brian’s honor, she was honest (as she always is) and told me she didn’t start it with her son in mind. It became somewhat of a “happy accident” as Bob Ross would say.
The idea was actually born from a post in a Facebook group dedicated to helping the homeless. The post was essentially a call to pay it forward, asking anyone who wanted to do something for the community to volunteer their time to handing out bottled water to the homeless. So 46 people gathered in the parking lot of the park on Memorial Boulevard to hand out the waters.
Pat recalls seeing a young homeless couple sleeping on a bench, they were the first recipients of Pat’s water. She maintained a relationship with Heidi, the young woman of the couple, until sadly she passed away in her early thirties.
As the volunteering continued, one of Pat’s friends, Nicole, decided to make pasta and meatballs to hand out as well, and then a gentlemen handed Pat 500 dollars to help the cause.
“I had a decision to make, I can have myself a hell of a weekend, or I do the right thing. Of course I did the right thing.” Pat joked with me. That is where the idea of the outreach was born. Pat admittedly did not know what to call it and the suggestion was made by someone to name it “Brian’s Army” to which she countered “Brian’s Angels” because in her words, it sounded more gentle.
Pat had struggled for years on what her purpose was and how to make her mark in the world. She asked what we all ask, “What is my purpose?” The last time was while watching Maya Angelou and Gayle King on an episode of “Oprah”. They were all class of ‘72 like Pat, which prompted the thought of how will she be remembered by the world. Shortly after, Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach was a reality.
I’ve been wanting to help Pat and her outreach for a while now, she was there for me when I was on the brink of homelessness myself. Even though I hadn’t met her personally, we were Facebook friends and she gave me emotional and moral support as well as advice when I was scared out of my mind. Now with social distancing and shutdowns being what they are, I need a way to help her and the homeless of our community until I can physically go volunteer and help the outreach.
So I’m writing this piece after interviewing Pat so that we can bring awareness to her organization during a time when supplies are even harder to come by. I will share donation and Go Fund Me links at the bottom of this page but I’d like you all to know who Pat is and why this is such a necessity for our world right now.
Obviously the homeless have it hard in our world every single day. They usually rely on the generosity of their community for food, clothing, shelter, and sometimes just an ear to talk to and a heart to be loved by. Now when something as simple as walking into a McDonald’s to use the rest room isn’t an option at the moment, their struggles are that much harder.
This is a time when instead of hoarding supplies for ourselves, we should be sharing them with people who don’t have the means to hoard, or even shop for one of these items. We are all in this together, more so than ever and the measure of a human being in my eyes is how you treat others when you’re not in your best circumstances, but how you treat them when you’re in your worst.
Many of us complaining about being bored still have a home to be bored in, with food to eat, and hot water to shower with. We should be ashamed. If we have one pair of socks and our neighbor has none then we should make sure we both hop around on one foot while holding on to each other until we can get them their own pair and they can walk on their own.
Please give anything you can, anything at all and donate to Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach. If you don’t want to donate to something outside of your town, then find an outreach in your community and help them, now and forever. Pat is a woman who has sleepless nights not worrying about herself, but worrying about the people who do not have a bed to sleep in for that night. She is what we all should be, uncomfortable until we are all comfortable.
I titled this “Even Angels Need A Hand” because Pat Stebbins is exactly that, an Angel who needs a hand. Please give what you can. Their website has a simple explanation of what they do.
“We supply items such as toiletries, non-perishable foods, clothing (such as socks, thermal sets, underwear, shoes, coats), temporary shelter, and supplies. We try to “fill a hole” for items that are not in the area agencies and for items outside their budgets.”
Lastly, while talking to Pat she told me that her son Brian wanted to be a journalist. That was his dream. So it’s with great honor that I dedicate and hand over credit for this article to Brian Pinz. None of what was written today could have been done without him, so this is Brian’s first article. You’ve been published kid. Congratulations!
To donate to Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach via PayPal please click the link below and click the PayPal link in the main page:
Or here at our Go Fund Me donation page: