Nonprofits Serve Up Cheer in North Providence

Plates with Purpose and St. Mary’s Home for Children partner to make the season merrier for vulnerable youth and their families

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A meal delivery service tackling food insecurity – Plates with Purpose – teams up with nonprofit agency St. Mary’s Home for Children: already the match sounds ripe with opportunity. But Plates with Purpose co-founder Jennifer Fantozzi explains that the Holiday Giving Program is significant on another level, too.

“This particular campaign holds special meaning for us in two ways. First, we have wanted to work with this organization since we launched our program last December,” Fantozzi begins, citing SMHFC’s mission of serving the diverse needs of almost 500 children and their families and treatment programs at the North Providence center for children traumatized by abuse. “Secondly, December marks the first-year anniversary of our program and we knew we wanted to do something really special to celebrate the milestone.”

Plates with Purpose has served more than 2,000 meals to senior citizens, families with children, food pantry visitors, and those without permanent housing since December 2020. Along with co-founder Jennifer Capracotta, their goal is to empower local restaurants while feeding neighbors. Says Fantozzi, “while the issue of food insecurity is complex and multi-layered, our model is fairly straightforward: we allocate donations to restaurants who, in turn, distribute meals to members of their communities that may be struggling to meet sufficient food needs.”

While most are relishing the joy of the season, Fantozzi and Capracotta saw SMHFC’s annual Holiday Giving Program as a chance to spread cheer to those who may not have as much to celebrate. As SMHFC’s website states: “For a child who has suffered sexual abuse, a child who has emotional issues and cannot focus on school, or a child that needs a temporary place to live – the holidays can be a time of sadness and loneliness as they face the difficulties life has given them.”

SMHFC seeks cash donations along with gifts of sensory items, arts and crafts, hobby-building supplies, and other toys and necessities to fulfill holiday wishlists. Meanwhile, Plates with Purpose is raising funds to provide restaurant gift cards for families. “While extra funds for groceries are always needed, we also learned it’s a real treat for residents and family members to be able to dine out, especially after the past 18 months. And we can’t think of a better way to help SMHFC raise the spirits of the children and families it serves!” says Fantozzi.

Plates with Purpose hopes to round out their first year with their largest goal yet of $5,000. The funds will all go toward gift cards from their partnering restaurants in North Providence, Cranston, Warwick, West Warwick, and Smithfield. Fantozzi and Capracotta are optimistic they’ll reach this goal. “What better time to rally around Rhode Island’s most vulnerable youth than the holidays?”

To donate or for restaurants interested in participating in Plates with Purpose, visit PlatesWithPurpose.org. For gift donations to the SMHFC Holiday Giving Program, visit SMHFC.org/InKind-Holiday-2021/

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