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Crowds Dine Out In Norwalk To Support Human Services Council

Carlos Reinoso and Kim Killoy of the Human Services Council at Johnny Utah's for the start of the seventh annual SoNo Stroll.
Carlos Reinoso and Kim Killoy of the Human Services Council at Johnny Utah's for the start of the seventh annual SoNo Stroll. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Mayor Harry Rilling, Lucia Rilling, HSC Executive Director Anthony DiLauro and Carlos Reinoso.
Mayor Harry Rilling, Lucia Rilling, HSC Executive Director Anthony DiLauro and Carlos Reinoso. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Crowds pack Johnny Utah's for the cocktail party and auctions, featuring more than 75 items up for bid.
Crowds pack Johnny Utah's for the cocktail party and auctions, featuring more than 75 items up for bid. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Anthony DiLauro thanks supporters for coming out and giving to the Human Services Council.
Anthony DiLauro thanks supporters for coming out and giving to the Human Services Council. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Nathan Hale social worker and mentor Robin Gredinger speaks about the services provided by HSC.
Nathan Hale social worker and mentor Robin Gredinger speaks about the services provided by HSC. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. – Hundreds of people enjoyed dining experiences in the restaurants of South Norwalk while providing help for people in need during the Human Service Council’s seventh annual SoNo Stroll.

About 300 people took part in the event Wednesday night, which raised money for the programs provided by the Human Services Council. The night started out at Johnny Utah’s with cocktails and both silent and live auctions. After that, diners moved out to one of 13 restaurants in South Norwalk offering price fixe menu options. Participating restaurants included Local, the Spread, O’Neill’s, the Ginger Man, Match, Burger Bar, Washington Prime, Donovan’s, Kazu, Harlan Publick, Strada 18 Barcelona and Quartina Trattoria.

The event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the HSC, which services Norwalk, Westport, Weston, Wilton and New Canaan. Its programs include the Children’s Connection, which helps children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse; the Norwalk Mentoring Program, which is available in all 19 Norwalk public schools; the Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition; the school-based Health Centers in six Norwalk schools; and supportive housing at 40 S. Main St. in Norwalk.

The need for the HSC’s services are increasing, said Kim Killoy, director of development and communication, and the organization is always looking for sources of funding so they can grow and expand their help to the area. She was appreciative of the restaurants who took part in the event.

“Without their partnership, we couldn’t do what we do. To say we’re going to have 305 people come in and sit down for a meal, that’s quite a feat,” Killoy said.

Carlos Reinoso, director of the Mid-Fairfield Substance Abuse Coalition, said the night benefited both the HSC and the surrounding businesses.

“It’s raising awareness not only that we exist, but of the services we provide and the need for help,” he said. “It’s also promoting the local SoNo businesses. It’s bringing people here to give to us, but they’re also spreading their money in SoNo. Hopefully they’ll enjoy themselves and come back.”

Executive Director Anthony DiLauro thanked the attendees for coming out and lending support to the HSC.

“You have given us the ability to educate, safeguard and empower the people of our community. You have given people the hope they need to reach their full potential.”

Robin Gredinger is a social worker at Nathan Hale Middle School, a mentor with the Norwalk Mentoring Program, and works closely with many of HSC’s programs. She said their programs make a huge difference in the lives of students.

“Many times we have children who don’t have an adult who sits and listens to them and talks to them, and the Norwalk Mentor Program provides an opportunity for kids to have a nurturing adult,” she said.

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