The Norwalk Open Door Shelter, formerly known as the Norwalk Emergency Shelter, will hold its annual gala and spring fundraiser on April 29, at 6 p.m. The venue this year is the beautiful Inn at Longshore in Westport.

The event includes entertainment by the funk and R&B band "Special O," known for their numerous appearances in the area and at political functions in Washington D.C., clubs in New York City and the Foxwoods Casino & Resort. Dozens of silent auction items will be offered, including tickets and hospitality at sporting events such as the U.S. Open, a cabin for two aboard a luxury two-week cruise in Europe, salon and spa packages, and certificates to many fine local restaurants.

The spring gala is an important event for both fundraising and for the purpose of introducing the shelter to residents of the community. With the economic downturn of the past few years, the shelter has been busier than ever, serving an unprecedented number of meals in the Manna House Soup kitchen, and satisfying huge increases in demand for shelter, affordable housing and food supplies from their pantry.

Each and every year the spring gala is a fun, entertaining event enjoyed by hundreds, sharing the special feeling that comes from helping those less fortunate in our community.

To register and attend, please visit We are also accepting individual and corporate sponsorships, as well as silent auction donations.

Located at 4 Merrit St. in Norwalk, the Open Door Shelter helps individuals and families who are struggling with shelter and/or food. The shelter offers more than 95 beds for the temporarily homeless, tens of thousands of meals per month in the Manna House soup kitchen, and also provides canned and boxed foods via their food pantry to families in the community struggling to make ends meet. The shelter also operates numerous low-cost housing units on both a transitional and permanent basis, and provides a variety of social services in the community.

Recently the shelter, as a result of a generous donation, is developing a job creation program to help put struggling residents back to work. The shelter is a non-profit organization, and over 90 percent of the funds raised by the organization go directly to aid programs.