10 Ways to Give Back This Season

From donating supplies to arranging flowers to taking out library books, there are so many ways to help our neighbors

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Year-end traditions are likely to look quite different this year. COVID-19 means scaling back family gatherings, worshipping from a distance, avoiding mad dashes on Black Friday, and canceling that wild New Year’s Eve party. One custom that shouldn’t change: digging deep to support our neighbors. We’re fortunate in Providence, with many exceptional organizations serving those in need across our city. And they could use our support now more than ever. Here are some examples grouped by cause.

 

Help Provide Essential Services

With a tagline of Give. Love. Live., the Elisha Project is a food rescue program that serves more than 25,000 people per week with 200,000 lbs of food and acts as a distributor to 10 agencies.

How you can help: Volunteer to deliver and serve meals, or make a financial gift. 

 

The Genesis Center educates and trains 1,000 adults each year and offers a 5-Star BrightStars Early Learning program in the West End.

How you can help: Check out Genesis Center’s online wish list, which includes everything from Chromebooks to crayons, and volunteering with remote classes. 

 

Help Organizers for Social Justice

Amidst efforts to transform Providence’s public schools, Parents Leading for Educational Equity is fighting for parents to have a voice in educational decisions.

How you can help: Donate school supplies like notebooks, pens, pencils, masks, wipes, and hand sanitizers. 

 

SISTA FIRE is a growing network of women of color building economic and social power. When COVID-19 hit their community, SISTA FIRE facilitated over $60,000 in mutual aid to nearly 320 people.

How you can help: Contribute financially and support their policy agenda.

 

Help Spread Good Will

What Cheer Flower Farm gives their flowers to local organizations like food pantries, hospitals, and recovery centers.

How you can help: Volunteer in the fields, arrange flowers, or deliver bouquets.

 

Help Raise Consciousness

The Avenue Concept is behind many of Providence’s stunning public art pieces, including the new VOTE mural at 1 Ship Street.

How you can help: Become a member, donate supplies, or partner to install public art at your place of business.

 

Our state has a deep connection with slavery. Rhode Island Slave History Medallions raise awareness of the ways enslaved people shaped our economic and cultural development.

How you can help: Make a contribution to help RISHM install medallions across the state. 

 

Help Connect Communities

ONE Neighborhood Builders, one of Providence’s top-notch nonprofit developers, is creating a community WiFi network to provide high-speed internet access to two-thirds of Olneyville residents.

How you can help: Donate used devices and follow on social media for volunteer opportunities. 

 

One Thing Helps encourages everyone to do just one thing for someone else (although more are encouraged!) to combat loneliness and social isolation.

How you can help: Download the Kindness Kit, and share on Instagram with #onethinghelps. 

 

The nine branches of the Providence Community Library and the downtown Providence Public Library keep finding new ways to educate and connect people during the pandemic.

How you can help: Use your library card! And make a financial gift; Providence’s libraries depend on support.  

 

Help in Other Ways

Follow these groups on social media, and when you see something you’re proud exists, take a moment to share about it. Consider ways to stretch the impact of your charitable giving, perhaps by making a monthly recurring donation. Adopt an organization for the holidays in lieu of gifts. Patronize local merchants as much as possible. Subscribe to a local news outlet to support the important work they do (nonprofit news organizations like ecoRI News and The Public’s Radio accept charitable contributions.)

Editor’s Note: This year #GivingTuesday falls on December 1, 2020.

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