Congratulations to Rev. Michel Belt and Rev. Catherine Zall who were awarded the William Crawford Distinguished Service award Thursday night. They were recognized for their tireless work advocating for homeless people. The reception took place at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Belt (at right) is the former rector of St. James Episcopal Church of New London. He turned his church’s parish hall to a 50-bed temporary homeless shelter from 2006 to 2013, then he and Zall (at left) spearheaded fundraising efforts to convert the former St. Peter and Paul Polish National Catholic Church into the New London Homeless Hospitality Center. The Hospitality Center offers a private, serene environment to its guests as well as drug, mental health and job counseling, primary medical and dental care, showers, laundry and personal storage spaces. All these service are offered with the end goal of helping people secure permanent homes.
The William Crawford Distinguished Service Award is presented by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut to outstanding citizens who embody the spirit of service to one’s neighbors and who have worked toward the bettering of life in eastern Connecticut.