Some 100 Housatonic Community College (HCC) faculty, staff and students gave up a recent Saturday to “give back” to the community. Heather Gabriel of Shelton was among the volunteers.

In observation of HCC’s annual Day of Community Service, the group assembled at Housatonic, donned bright blue HCC T-shirts, and walked together to United Congregational Church at Park and Fairfield avenues.

At the downtown church, they volunteered their time throughout the morning and early afternoon to help United Congregational with a variety of projects.

Clothes closet, food pantry, landscaping

Gabriel, the student from Shelton, was busy packing collected clothing while students Justin Torres of Bridgeport and Johnna Vereb of Stratford worked in the food pantry.

Student Danielle Zumbo of Monroe was one of many who picked up landscaping tools to lend a hand, as did Graciela Guaman of Bridgeport, John Puglisi of Monroe, and Tiana and Tiffany Johnson of Bridgeport.

Student Sergio Escobar of Bridgeport worked at landscaping and grounds cleanup while photographing the event.

“I feel that, because Housatonic has helped me in so many ways, it’s only right that I give back to the community,” Escobar said.

‘Such great school spirit’

One person who was impressed with the student turnout and enthusiasm was Denise Bukovan, HCC community outreach dean, who attended the event.

“I can’t remember such great school spirit,” Bukovan said. “Students marched across town [to the church] cheering ‘HCC it’s where ya wanna be!’ the whole way, backed by passing cars honking horns.”

United Congregational Church offers meals for the poor, a food pantry, a clothes closet and programs for families, including for homeless children.