Who attends our Spanish speaking “Raising the Bar on Nutrition” cooking class where she is learning to make low-cost, nutritious meals for her family. Each week a new vegetarian meal is prepared using Food Pantry products. Anna and her classmates get to sample the dish and go home with both the recipe and the food needed to make the meal. Anna enjoys the class because she cares for her seven grandchildren every day, and she appreciates the budget stretching recipes. The class is co-sponsored by the RI Community Food Bank and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
A divorced mom of two had worked hard to maintain her sobriety and had her two boys living with her. She worked part-time as a home health care aide. Better Lives RI paid for her monthly bus pass so she could get back and forth to work. Patty had been physically and sexually abused as a child and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. An accident in which she was badly bruised was the trigger opening up a floodgate of emotions from her childhood, and she was psychologically traumatized and unable to work. Nancy, our SOAR worker, acted as Patty’s agent at the Social Security and disability offices and gathered all of Patty’s medical records. She submitted Patty’s claim for Social Security based on her mental health disability, and Patty’s claim was accepted in three months instead of the usual two-three years. Better Lives RI arranged to have Patty’s family adopted at Christmas and continue to provide supportive services through the Homeless Outreach program and food through the Food Pantry.
A single mother with one child. She was homeless and couch surfing, but had no home of her own, even though she was working, because she couldn’t afford first month’s rent and the damage deposit. Lisa connected her with the Rapid Re-housing program. Jody found an apartment she could afford and the Rapid Re-housing money paid for the first month and the damage deposit. Better Lives RI helped with small household items with a “Welcome Home” kit donated by the Bristol County General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
From Troop 2 in East Greenwich selected Better Lives RI this past year for their Eagle projects. Kevin Drumm built moveable shelving units and racks for the Homeless Outreach program. Now the clothing is much more organized and guests can search for their size, just like a mini-department store!
Ben Capuano organized a crew to build new, sturdy shelves in the Better Lives RI Food Pantry. The new shelves can hold much more food, both in the shopping area and in the storage room. More food can be displayed for the client choice shoppers who can choose what they want from the shelves.
Our Meal Site coordinator has arranged her schedule at RI Hospital where she works in the Surgical Intensive Care unit, so she can have the day off to prepare the meal for the 200 guests who come to be fed a sit-down dinner at the Better Lives RI Community Meal Site for the Homeless every Friday for nearly 30 years. She leads an all-volunteer staff and provides much more than food. She cares for each guest, checking on their well-being, making doctor’s appointments for them, and sending them home with food. They are her family, and she, in turn, is well loved.
A 67 year old man who just moved into his own apartment. He came to Better Lives RI because he couldn’t get his electricity turned on. He couldn’t understand why, and had no phone to communicate with the electric company. He couldn’t cook and was using candles at night. Previously, Joe had lived in a rooming house with electricity included, but the apartment manager, now long gone, had kept the money leaving Joe with a $570.00 bill. Ron advocated for him with the electric company, and they agreed to put Joe on a payment plan. Better Lives RI paid a portion of the bill so Joe could have his electricity the next day.