Funding will feed residents who are still reeling from impact of the pandemic

WOONSOCKET, RI -- Two Woonsocket organizations on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis are among the groups that will share $700,000 in grants from a special fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island to respond to the pandemic.

“As a state, we have begun to shift focus from COVID-19 response to relief and recovery, but even with that positive shift, need in the community continues to grow,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation. “We are so appreciative of the donors who have provided financial support since the crisis began in March, and will continue to work with charitable Rhode Islanders to support the nonprofit organizations that remain on the frontlines, providing crucial community services.”

Among the organizations that received funding from the COVID-19 Response Fund are Connecting for Children & Families and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island. (The full list of awardees and a brief description of what each grant will support is posted here.)

“As we – the nonprofit community – focus more and more on stabilizing households and families, it has become increasingly clear the depth of relief our neighbors need to begin to regain their footing,” said UWRI president and CEO, Cortney Nicolato. “We realize the road ahead may be long, but there’s also no question that without the incredible generosity of so many, that road would be much longer.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs received $18,000 to continue its food and summer learning programs, both expanded to address Covid-19’s impact.  The funds will go toward food staff salaries, transportation to deliver meals, pantry restocking, grocery needs and hot meals among other expenses. Funds will also allow BGCNRI continue to provide meals and groceries to the food insecure. Since the March shutdown, BGCNRI has provided 10,000 meals and groceries to hundreds of families, elderly residents and others who are food insecure.

“Our economically disadvantaged members and their families in Woonsocket and Cumberland are some of the hardest hit by this pandemic,” said Gary Rebelo, CEO and president, “Our families are more food insecure than before, and our young members need the Club for health, wellness and academic support this summer to overcome the significant impacts of COVID-19." 

The funding will also enable the Boys & Girls Clubs to continue providing meals and groceries to residents in need of food. Since the March shutdown, the organization has provided 10,000 meals and groceries to hundreds of families and older adults.

"Thanks to Rhode Island Foundation and the United Way of Rhode Island’s support, we can continue our work in the communities we serve and help our members who need us most,” said Rebelo.  

Connecting for Children & Families received $28,000 to help feed children and families who are struggling with hunger as a result of COVID-19. This grant will supplement the organization’s food inventory and create a delivery service to reach frontline workers, seniors, disabled individuals and single parent households.

“Woonsocket was a challenged city even before COVID-19, and as the pandemic has endured, we’ve had far too many calls from neighbors in crisis unable to leave their homes for the essential supplies they need,” said Executive Director Terese Curtin. “It was critically important that we expand our pantry program and include delivery service."

With the latest round of grants, the COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded nearly $8 million to nonprofits across Rhode Island since March 27. Donors have already contributed just over $8.5 million since the crisis began.