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The Providence Center Gives Back This Holiday Season

Posted: Tue, December 19, 2017

By: Kaitlyn Barnett

It’s that time of year – the time for giving.  Supporting Rhode Island communities and their residents has always been a priority for The Providence Center (TPC).  This holiday season, TPC employees and board members are coming together to give back to our neighbors in need.

To help spread holiday cheer, a TPC employee (who would like to remain anonymous) has created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the state’s homeless communities.  So far, the campaign has raised $610.00 and allowed her and her team to purchase 50 Mylar sleeping bags, 100 Mylar rescue blankets, 40 hats, 30 pairs of women’s gloves, 40 pairs of men’s gloves, 40 scarves, foot/hand/body warmers, and 30 pairs of socks.

“My job is definitely what inspired me to raise funds for this particular GoFundMe cause,” she said.  “It’s not easy seeing people on the street dressed in shorts and a windbreaker in 30-degree weather. While we can’t control them being outside since there are so many factors related to homelessness, we can help to keep them safe.”

The team has also received a donation of over 15 men’s coats, more gloves and hats, two large bags of pants, one large bag of tee-shirts, and a few sweaters.

“It’s important that as a community we give visibility to those who are homeless or in need of help,” she added.  “These people are no less important than anyone else.  When we are able to help, volunteer, donate, and have direct communication with these communities, we are truly bridging gaps.”

Priscilla Villa, a case manager at TPC, also understands the importance of giving.  This year, she and her team of behavioral outpatient employees put together a Centerwide toy drive asking all TPC employees to donate new, unwrapped gifts to help make the holidays brighter for children whose parents might not have the means to purchase presents.

“We’ve been accepting toys, cash, and gift cards,” said Villa.  “Anything helps.”

Jim Botvin, chair of TPC’s Board of Trustees, contributed a significant amount to the toy drive, allowing Villa and her team members to buy a large number of toys.

So far, the team has received 175 toy donations along with gloves, hats, shirts, etc. that have also been donated as gifts.  All donations will go directly to TPC clients whose staff person requested donations, either because they are struggling more than most this year or have multiple children.

“It’s important for people to give back no matter what time of the year it is,” added Villa.  “During the holidays it’s always is nice to spread some happiness among struggling families. A little kindness can go a long way.”

TPC board member Don Barbeau, and his parish from St. Teresa in Pawtucket, also donated a significant amount of children’s clothes ages newborn to six to TPC’s Early Childhood Institute (ECI).  The clothing items included everything from winter coats, boots, hats and gloves, to t-shirts, socks and underwear.

“We are so thankful for all of the beautiful, warm clothes that were donated to our children,” said Simmy Carter, associate director of the ECI.  “Many of these kids are without the necessary apparel for these colder, winter conditions.  These gifts will go a long way.”

To learn more about TPC’s programs and how you can contribute, visit: https://providencecenter.org/donate