Bridgeport Rescue Mission more than doubles number of people it serves weekly

The Bridgeport Rescue Mission announced Thursday it has more than doubled the number of people it serves during a typical week, thanks to a major new resource -- the Bridgeport Rescue Mission Community Care Center.
The head of the nonprofit says the new Center on Park Avenue now serves 450 families a week through its food pantry.
The $14 million, five-story facility opened almost a year ago, and houses everything from its residential clients to its community cafe and food pantry.
Clients like 44-year-old Lori Pepitone tell News 12 the center has changed her life for the better.
"The Bridgeport Rescue Mission is giving me the biggest hope and restoration with my own children and family," said Pepitone. "This place has literally saved my life."
The nonprofit helps people struggling with alcoholism and addiction and gives support and refuge to victims of domestic violence.
Pepitone says it has given her the time and support she needs not only to take stock of her life, but to rebuild it after years of hardship and heartbreak.
"It's been a place that's provided just a safe -- a completely safe atmosphere," said Pepitone.
Bridgeport Rescue Mission CEO Larry Fullerton says helping people rebuild their lives through a faith-based program is not only personally rewarding, but it also helps to strengthen the community at large by uplifting the individuals it serves.
"Our mission is to give hope to people who, on occasion, feel hopeless," said Fullerton. "We have kind of a dual role. One is to the community of Bridgeport and Fairfield County and the second is to people who are actually residents and live with us."
Director of Development Lisa Chester says the nonprofit's programs are outcome-based, which means there is no pre-set time limit imposed on a person's recovery.
"If by chance you fall into that situation again, you can come back," said Chester.