Stew Leonard’s CEO to Receive Award from Homeless Organization

The Open Door Shelter (ODS) will present Stew Leonard Jr., CEO of Stew Leonard’s, with its Corporate Leadership Award at an event schedule to take place April.7 in Westport, Conn. The Norwalk, Conn.-based supermarket company has supported the local organization for more than a decade.

“Stew Leonard’s [stands] by our side in supporting the urgent needs of the homeless and working poor in the Norwalk area,” said Bill Okwuosa, executive director of ODS, which aids individuals and families who are struggling with shelter and/or food insecurity issues.

“It is my hope that by continuing to raise awareness and funds through events like this, our entire team at Stew Leonard’s can play a role in helping the ODS bring food, shelter and jobs to our community,” added Leonard.

The theme of the 2011 Spring Gala at which the award presentation will take place, along with a silent auction, is “Homeless No More: A Celebration of ‘Hope Works.’” Modeled after the Doe Fund’s “Ready, Willing and Able” program in New York, ODS’ recently launched “Hope Works” initiative aims to help people living in shelters return to the working world and once more live independently. The first class of participants is expected to graduate in August.

All funds raised at the upcoming event will go to ODS, Hope Works and the Manna House of Hospitality soup kitchen.

The nonprofit ODS provides 95 beds for the temporarily homeless, 600 meals daily in the Manna House, and canned and boxed items through its food pantry to needy families in the community. ODS also operates various low-cost housing units on both a transitional and permanent basis, and offers a range of social services.

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