EDITORIAL: Farewell to a treasure

Trumbull has lost a treasure, and the town is a little less compassionate because of it.

Ann Marie Tarinelli passed away over the weekend. Tarinelli was best known for her decades-long commitment to improving the lives of Bridgeport's homeless.

Tarinelli's compassion was of a personal nature. Not content to write letters or donate to the occasional charity drive, Tarinelli made caring for Bridgeport's homeless her personal mission. For years, sometimes alone and sometimes with one or two volunteer helpers, she prepared home-cooked meals in her own kitchen, and delivered them to the city's poorest inhabitants, setting up tables under the John Street overpass.

Over the years, the level of support she received varied. For a while, Catholic Charities helped defray the cost of groceries. When that ended, she bought food with money out of her own pocket, even though she herself was eligible to receive food stamps.

During the winter, she collected blankets and handed them out so that people who might have been sleeping in an abandoned building could at least have some increased comfort.

Finally, she started her own charity, the Hidden Treasure Bistro, and used the tax-deductible contributions of food and money to continue her mission of providing a home-cooked meal. On the last Sunday of each month, the bistro was open under the overpass.

To be sure, Tarinelli did not solve the problem of poverty and homelessness in Bridgeport. She likely did not reduce the number of homeless either. What she did was to do everything in her power to make the lives of society's poorest a little better, one day a month. We would all do well to make just one person feel better one day a month. Tarinelli did it for an entire community.