BRIDGEPORT - Hundreds of homeless people got a free meal in Bridgeport today thanks to a nonprofit group, and organizers say the unusually large turnout points to an alarming trend.

The event was set up under a bridge on John Street. Large tables were set up with food for hungry homeless people in the area.

The event was sponsored by Helping Hands Outreach. Organizers say it was one of the biggest turnouts they've ever seen for a routine Sunday meal in Bridgeport.

Debbie Samilenko, of St. John's Church in Stratford, says the local mom-and-pop stores that tend to employ low-income people are being driven out of business by corporate giants, leading to a growing homeless population.