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Five Ways Rhode Island Families Can Help Their Neighbors Affected By Floods

Historic flooding provides opportunities for families to make a difference. Local family enrichment company, Familytopia, urges parents to seize this week’s flooding as an opportunity to teach their children valuable lessons about helping neighbors in need. The destruction to homes and businesses as a result of the flooding displaced hundreds of people, and ruined many neighborhoods. Families can help by rallying their time and resources.

1) Bringing Comfort to Displaced Families:

Helping HandsMany families had to relocate to local shelters or hotels. Most shelters are prohibited from accepting home-cooked food; but welcome gift cards from grocery stores and Wal-Mart, which can be used to purchase needed supplies. They also accept new pillows and blankets.

The following shelters are currently open:

– Neutaconkanut Recreation Center – 675 Plainfield St., Providence (For residents of Providence and Johnston)

– West Warwick Civic Center – 100 Factory St., West Warwick (For residents of West Warwick, Warwick and Cranston)

– Westerly Senior Center – 39 State St., Westerly (For residents of Westerly, Hopkinton and South Kingstown)

The Blue Mitten Shop on Main Street in Westerly: Accepting donated clothing and household items on behalf of the Westerly shelter. Displaced residents at the shelter will receive a pass to bring to the Blue Mitten to get needed items. Contact: Carolann Falasca at (401) 596-7526.

The Department of Human Services: Will advise individuals who wish to donate items, goods or services to flood victims. Contact: Patti St. Amant at 468-4108 or Roberta Steinle at 468-4101.

2) Helping Pets in Need:

West Warwick’s Animal Shelter is under water and sewage. They need foster homes for the animals as well as new office supplies and computer equipment. Contact: Debbie at (401) 944-6178

3) Learning Lessons in Philanthropy:

Brainstorm ways to raise money to help those affected. Activities could range from lemonade stands, to bake sales, to doing chores around the neighborhood. When children work to raise money for a cause they learn many valuable skills. Make sure to allow them to drop off their hard earned money in person to further reinforce their impact. The following organizations are accepting monetary donations to distribute to those in need:

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence’s West Warwick Catholic Charity and Social Ministry satellite office: 401-823-6211.

The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund: 105 Gano St., Providence, RI 02906.  www.riredcross.org.

4) Helping With Neighborhood Clean Ups:

Keep an eye out for calls for help once the water recedes and it is safe for people to come back to the neighborhoods. Large groups of people will be needed for clean up efforts.

5) Kids Helping Kids:

Many kids lost comfort items precious to them as a result of waterlogged homes. Donating new, snuggly stuffed animals will bring a smile to a child’s face, and provide comfort during these difficult times.

Future Opportunities:

Stay up to date on flood relief efforts in Rhode Island by preregistering on the Serve Rhode Island website. Go to www.ServeRhodeIsland.org and click on the top (first) heading: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR RI FLOOD DISASTER RECOVERY EFFORTS:  SIGN-UP HERE.

Familytopia helps busy parents envision and create their ideal family life. Familytopia empowers parents through workshops, coaching and a monthly e-newsletter. More information is available at www.myfamilytopia.com.

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  • Thank you so much for this, I have trying to figure out ways to reach out, this is our home and I felt there was so little I could do. This is such an empowering article and I hope everyone is able to find one thing on the list that works for them.