This past weekend, I did the food shopping for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. The final bill was pretty high, but I bought lots of good quality food for the special day. I also spent several hours helping to assemble 300 food baskets for families who could use some extra help with their own Thanksgiving dinners. I know what my shopping bill was and was struck by how so many of my neighbors struggle to afford to put food on their family’s table every evening, never mind during the holidays.
As I write this, I read headlines such as, “State poverty rate highest in N.E.” (Providence Journal, 11/20/17) and “Housing advocates applaud development, though already there’s a waiting list of 400” (Providence Journal, 11/20/17). While I do feel grateful for my blessings and bounty, and know that there are good things developing in our State’s economy, I worry more that many families are still struggling. Too many families can hardly put food on the table for their children, or turn up the heat on cold nights, or even pay the rent for their apartments.
As I came to work Monday, I learned that, with the help of so many supporters, we were able to move 90 families from emergency shelter into their own apartments between January and October this year. We helped 77 women and their children move from our domestic violence emergency shelter to a more positive place. And we’ve moved hundreds more men and women into housing.
I am extremely grateful for the support we receive from the Rhode Island community that allows us to do this important work. Our donors and funders, our Board, staff, volunteers and community partners all make it possible for us to continue this critical work that allows for fewer and fewer families and individuals experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island.
As we come into the holiday season and cold winter months, it is my hope that we continue to support each other in some way. If we each do something a little extra for one of our neighbors who could use some help, our State will be an even better place for so many to live.
Perhaps next year, those 300 families who needed some extra help this Thanksgiving will be able to serve a holiday meal at their very own dinner table at which to gather and give thanks. If we continue to work together towards a more collective positive impact to end homelessness, we can all give thanks and feel truly blessed to have our own place to call home.
I wish you and yours a safe and happy Thanksgiving.