Gifts have been opened, decorations put away, the calendar has turned, and the holidays are over. However, don’t stow away the spirit of giving until next season; too often, people forget that those nonprofits helping our communities are open and operating year-round – and the pandemic has only made their roles all the more vital.
“Our clients were struggling well before COVID-19 hit,” says Marty Sinnott, President and CEO of Child & Family in Middletown. “The pandemic has exacerbated issues like homelessness, job loss, food insecurity, and substance use disorder that affect people’s ability to keep themselves and their families safe.” Child & Family is one of the largest social service agencies in the state, and offers a multitude of programs for vulnerable children, elders, and families like foster care, supportive housing, and Medicare/Medicaid enrollment counseling – and despite challenges, managed to remain operational throughout 2020, with the exception of pausing their early learning center which, Sinnott adds, “was one of the first childcare programs to reopen.”
In April, Child & Family was one of six East Bay nonprofits to receive grant money from a special fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island. Other organizations included the East Bay Community Action Program, James L. Maher Center, John Clarke Retirement Center, Newport Community School, and Newport Mental Health. Child & Family immediately used the money to support nearly 210 households through their programming and provided over 500 seniors with case management services.
While Child & Family does not expect a quick fix to COVID-19, they are thankful for the continued support of generous foundations and donors: “We believe that individuals and communities thrive when supported by strong families, and that a community works best when it accepts responsibility for all of its members.” ChildAndFamilyRI.com
Read on to learn about more East Bay nonprofits like Child & Family, and how you can help beyond the holidays:
The Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island is dedicated to increasing awareness of brain injury and its consequences, providing education to prevent brain injury, and enhancing the quality of life for those affected by brain injury. BIARI serves the entire state and provides a resource library and support groups as well as a yearly Brain Injury Conference. Learn more and donate at BIARI.org.
Spreading happiness one box at a time, The Confetti Foundation supplies fun themed party materials to children who are hospitalized on their birthdays. Volunteer to make cards and banners, start an online fundraiser, purchase wish list items, or donate at ConfettiFoundation.org.
EBCAP provides an array of health and human services through their Primary, Behavioral and Dental Health Centers around the area, plus several programs spanning needs such as job seeking, homelessness, recovery, health education, literacy, and housing assistance. Support through volunteer work, monetary donations, and supplying food, clothing, and other items. Learn more at EBCAP.org.
Providing help like community-based living and home-based therapeutic services to support children and adults with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities. Learn more and donate at FogartyCenter.org.
Fostering the independence of those with developmental and other disabilities through programs with a focus on integration in housing, employment, and social engagement. Volunteer or make a charitable donation at MaherCenter.org.
In response to COVID-19, food incubator Hope & Main started this campaign to ensure local families have access to wholesome, healthy, prepared foods. Opt in for the “Buy One/Give One” when you purchase a meal for yourself and another is donated to a neighbor. Learn more at MakeFoodYourBusiness.org.
“Touch a Person in Need” supports members of the East Bay community by providing food, clothes, furniture, transport, and information. Join their volunteer team, give back while you shop via AmazonSmile, or make a donation at TapInRI.org.
This food bank started with two men giving out bread from the back of a station wagon and today gathers and distributes donated food to the homeless, families in poverty, the elderly and disabled, veterans, and the working poor. Make a donation online at WeShareHope.org.
In an effort to end domestic violence, WRC acts as a safe haven for those in need of support, shelter, and counseling services. Help out by purchasing wish list items like toiletries, recycling your cell phone at one of their offices for client use, or donate online at WRCNBC.org.
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