Category Archives: Backpack Giveaway

Hello, thanks for checking in with the Dream Center Diaries!

I trust you are having an amazing Thanksgiving, and I can promise you that we at the RI Dream Center are having a great Thanksgiving as well!!!  We have just witnessed the biggest month in our history!

So, without further adieu, let’s kick things off with details on the 8th Annual Hope for the Homeless Event.

Hope for the Homeless

November 8th: 8th Annual Hope for the Homeless Event – we bussed the homeless over to Praise Tabernacle Church in Cranston, fed them a delicious meal donated by Texas Roadhouse, and linked them up with over 20 Service Providers.  We have been putting this event on yearly in recognition of National Homeless Awareness Week, and this event has grown each year.   Here are the direct care providers that set up tables with us:

  • Sojourner House
  • Teen Challenge
  • RI Coalition for the Homeless
  • Neighborhood Health Plan of RI
  • Walgreens
  • RI Legal Services
  • W.A.R.M.
  • Community Care Alliance
  • RI Dream Center Overcomers Meeting
  • MAP
  • Neville Bedford, Esq.
  • Galilee Mission for Fisherman
  • Warwick House of Hope
  • The Providence Center
  • RIPIN
  • Blessing Way Sober House
  • The Discovery House United Health Care Community Plan
  • Veteran’s Inc.
  • Thundermist
  • CrossRoads RI
  • Rhode Island Housing

Besides hooking up our homeless with these great service providers and providing them with a great meal, we enjoyed great concert by Praise Tabernacle’s Youth Redefined Band.

The Dream Center also took the time to recognize the following individuals/organizations who have gone above and beyond this year helping us out:

Ed Brady –Winner of the Bob Pangborn Award – this award is given to a person who quietly, and without needing to be in the forefront, helps so many people. Ed’s organizations provide annual summertime barbecues and Thanksgiving dinners for hundreds of homeless! He also donates backpacks and supplies each year for our annual drive.  Ed is a restaurateur and owner of The Thirsty Beaver & Vanity Supper Club.  Thanks for all your support, Ed Brady!

Steve Marocco – Winner of the Jimmy B Award, given to that person who, without complaint or question, asks what is needed and makes it happen (we call this “find a need and fill it”). The president of the RIDC Board let me know that Steve donates so much to us throughout the year that it would take up 3 pages to list everything.  However beyond that, he also connects us with others who help us out tremendously! Food, Clothes, Back Packs, Toiletries, Money, Time, Custom Tee Shirts, Custom Sweatshirts, and on and on!! Steve owns and operates Elmwood Sports in Cranston, RI.  Thanks for all your help this year, Steve Marocco!

Overcomers Program – The Georgie Award is given to the RI Dream Center Program that has brought about the most change in peoples’ lives. This support group combines a traditional 12-step program with an added layer of a personal faith, and it has helped many people deal with issues they have been struggling with.  This award was given to June Pangburn who runs this program. June is an amazing leader and friend to all those that frequent the meeting, and there have been many testimonials of individuals who can attest to her support.  Keep up the great work, June Pangburn!

We’ve also got to thank all the volunteers who helped out this year, whether it was planning and organizing or helping during the event (or both)!!! You are appreciated sooooooooooo much!!!

And, of course, Texas Roadhouse in Cranston – who provided an amazing spread!!!  Thank you guys!!!

Click on any of the pics on this post for a full-size view….

 

 bannera1 RI Legal Services RI Coalition nhpri Happy Feeding2 Award for Ed Brady

Feeding Waving Hi a2

 

Backpacks

As you know by now, we work hard all year to collect donations for our backpacks, and this year the results were phenomenal.  Between our Providence, West Warwick and South County drop-off sites, we handed out 450 backpacks stuffed with winter essentials. Through your generous support, we were able to raise funds and supplies for 400 of those backpacks, and generous donors provided an additional 50 backpacks already stocked with winter goodies. Thanks so much to all of our volunteers and donors! (special shout-out goes to Fidelity Team Silver for your continued support in this endeavor!)

November 11th: Filling the Backpacks – we had over 20 volunteers come to the building to stuff the backpacks – the volunteers were as diverse as the individuals that would ultimately receive them.  Our helpers that night included members of Praise Tabernacle Church, members of the homeless community that had received backpacks in the past, employees of Fidelity Investments, and students from Masters Regional Academy’s National Honor Society. I have been involved with the stuffing of the backpacks for years, and I have never seen them filled this efficiently.  We are getting much better at this – this night was the fastest we ever stuffed the backpacks – it used to take us two days but this year we filled them in one hour!!!  Great job, team!

November 15th:  Passing the backpacks out – we passed the backpacks out on November 15th on the RI State House lawn and provided bagged lunches, hot coffee and free clothes along with them!  I am hoping to upload a video soon, but in the meantime make sure you check out the pictures below.  My last pic is quite touching…someone donated a Justin Bieber backpack, and it just happened to go to this sweet lil princess….it totally made her day….it totally broke my heart seeing her out there….this exactly what our organization is all about….

backpacks in truck b3 b1c2 (2)b2b4c4c5c1

chuck backpacks backpacks line clothes   more clothes

 little girl

Thanksgiving Dinner

November 23rd: Thanksgiving Dinner – Ed Brady’s Team put on a phenomenal Thanksgiving Event for the homeless and financially poor this year. Partnering with Praise Tabernacle Church, it was the fifth year Ed Brady’s team sponsored the event, and it has grown larger and larger each year. I remember in years past, where we barely had room to feed 100 people.  This year though – besides feeding hundreds of homeless delicious turkey dinners, the team also brought care packs (filled with toiletries), coats, shoes and all manner of clothes for our guests to take home. If that wasn’t enough, the team also had barbers and stylists onsite providing free haircuts for men and women while they were waiting in line for their food. It truly was an amazing experience to be a part of.  I am so proud of Ed and his team and can’t wait to see what next year holds!!!

  Eating at TablesShoes Serving Food Preparing Hats Socks Hair Dressers Hair Cut2 Hair Cut Hair Cut and line outside Goodies Giving Gifts  

 

It’s been a crazy busy month so far, but there is much more we are looking forward to!  We couldn’t have done it without your support, and we thank you so much.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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The RI Dream Center Proudly Presents The 8th Annual Hope for the Homeless event In recognition of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week!!

When:        Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Where:       Praise Tabernacle Church, 330 Park Avenue Cranston, RI

Time:          11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

          Lunch will be served from Noon to 1:00 PM 

But what is it?!?!?  Well, I’m glad you asked!!!  The Hope for the Homeless event is a yearly event we host in order to raise awareness for the homeless and financially poor by treating them to a day of food & fun while connecting them with local service providers that are working to meet their needs.   For the second straight year, Praise Tabernacle Church is allowing us to host the event at their facility.

We’ll have a band, we’ll have lots of good food, and we’ll have lots of service providers on hand in order spend some time with our local homeless community.  The best part about it – all of it’s free for our guests!!!  We’ll send the buses out to the city to pick up whoever wants to come.

If you’d like to find out more details, or if you’d like to donate your time or money to make sure this event is as amazing as possible, feel free to reach out to us on our Facebook page dedicated to the event.  You can also comment on this post and I will personally put you in contact with someone leading the charge on this event…

 


Thank you to all the supporters of the RI Dream Center Hope for the Homeless Winter Survival Backpack Sponsors!!!!

If that’s not a mouthful, I don’t know what is!!!

Here’s the scoop, for those of you that don’t know what’s up – every year we hand out 300 free backpacks to the homeless filled with winter survival supplies.  Yeah, it’s expensive, and yeah, it’s a lot of work….but it is soooooooo worth it!!!

To get it done, we rely on friends and family of the RI Dream Center for support.  One of the main fundraisers is the Walkathon.  Another way we raise support is simply by asking for supplies, and year after year I am totally amazed by the outstanding efforts of ordinary, everyday citizens of our community that help provide supplies for our backpacks.

Ok, so let’s set the table – here’s what we hand out:

Backpack
Socks
Hat
Gloves
Scarf
Fleece Blanket
Shampoo
Deodorant
Lotion
Toothpaste
Toothbrush
Soap
Conditioner
Razor
Shave Cream
Combs
Nail clippers
Bible
Kleenex
Lip balm

Other helpful items are hand sanitizer, alcohol free mouthwash, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.

As you can see, it’s a lot – just multiply that list by 300!!!!

We have already started receiving some donations, but if you would like to help us out by donating any of the above necessities it would be great!  If you would like to donate anything, leave a comment below and we will figure out the best way to connect!

So, here are the dates I promised:

HFH Walkathon – October 11th at the PT Church Parking Lot at 8:30 am

Filling of the Backpacks – November 11th at PT Church at 6:00 pm until…..whenever we’re done!

Backpack Hand Outs – November 15th  State House Lawn at 7:00 am

If you would like to help out with ANYTHING you have read about in this post, please let me know and we will put you in contact with someone running each of these events!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog!!!


I just wanted to share a couple of quick stories:

A couple of weeks ago, when we were out feeding the homeless on the Food Truck on a Friday night on Broad Street, a homeless man comes up to me and hands me a $10 bill.  I promptly let him know that we are out to bless him, and that there is never a charge for any food/drink/etc the Food Truck provides…just as quick, he let me know that he knew that already, but he saw our faithfulness week after week and year after year and wanted to pitch in – he said it had been a good week for him and he wanted to use some of his windfall to give back to the Food Truck…he said there’s been times when we’ve provided the only meal he’s had on a given day, and he wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks with his wallet…..pretty cool, huh?

The people I work with are very caring and very generous – they are often the quickest to step in anytime I let it be known we are in a pinch…they also love getting involved with the backpack drive.  I almost hate telling stories about them, because there are too many to tell and I know I will leave someone’s story out – they are literatlly that good to me…but here’s one for ya – one of the ladies I work with is an extreme couponer – a backpack giveaway plus an extreme couponer = a marriage made in heaven!!!  So here’s the scoop, when she got the list of what we need to fill the backpacks this year, she made it her mission to make the biggest impact she could. Armed with a binder-full-of-coupons and store-bucks, she walks up to the cash register with a carriage full of travel size essentials…the woman at the counter, who is one of the assistant managers at the store, let her know that company policy does not allow for couponing/store-bucks on these size items (they were already on sale!!)…but she was very curious why someone might be looking to buy so many anyways…long story short, when my friend tells the woman that she is buying them to fill backpacks to hand out to the homeless this winter, tears begin to well up in the cashier’s eyes.  The woman working behind the register lets her know that, so many months ago, she used to be homeless herself!!!  So there was no way she was letting my friend walk out of the store with everything in the carriage – and yes it was fine to use the coupons, store policy or not – it is going to a good cause and polices are made to be broken sometimes!!!  Imagine that though, my friend innocently walks into the store looking to meet the needs of some homeless people this Winter, but ends up touching the life of someone who made it out of homlesessness…and it opened the door for my friend to put her extreme-couponing skills to VERY good use!!!!

 


Mark your Calendars – we have A LOT going on in the next few months:

  • HFH Walkathon: Saturday, October 11th starting at the PT Church Parking Lot – 8:30 am
  • HFH Homelessness Event: Saturday,  November 8th @ PT Church – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Filling of the Backpacks: Tuesday, November 11th @  PT Church – 6:00 pm until….. 
  • Back Pack Hand-Outs: Saturday, November 15th @ State House Lawn – 7:00 am

They are all interrelated – I will have much more detail for you soon…hope this whets your appetite!!!!


We received a wonderful email this morning from one of the volunteers at the backpack giveaway…I hope you enjoy!

Good morning,

You will be Blessed to know that every one of the 300 plus back packs were received by the homeless on the State house lawn this morning.

We also passed out about 25 huge bags of warm clothing and lunches, coffee & hot chocolate and YOU made it all possible With your very generous donations of backpacks and all the things we put inside them, Be sides all your prayers, donations for lunches, coffee, clothing, and volunteering your time Etc.

Through your faithful dedication and very generous hearts , 300 plus lives were blessed and they were all so very thankful. God bless YOU ALL . Thank you all once again for all YOU do.

So many people said this is like Christmas !!!!! This is so awesome, we just can’t believe all you do, this Church family is just unbelievable !!!!

As they walk away carrying their house on their back with smiles on their faces in the cold weather so Grateful for the things we take for granted , It leaves us counting our blessings and yet wishing we could do so much more for them.

They are beautiful people God’s children so thankful and grateful for the love we have for them, May we always continue to pray for God’s protection and provision for them as they continue on their journey of survival!!!

There but for the grace of God go I!!!!

Please see the Awesome Praise Reports and Prayer list below!

Praise Reports:

Vinny & Melissa are on the recovery road, Vinny is addiction free 1 month Melissa is in the hospital . They both want prayer for strength on their recovery road. Vinny looks so healthy.

Sarge who served 3 terms in the Vietnam war has an apartment. Thanks for serving our country Sarge God bless you Veteran.

Joel is on the recovery Road please continue to pray for continued strength through his recovery.

Sharon She is sleeping out on the streets in the freezing cold, Jan gave her a back pack and much needed clothes and a lunch, She said oh my God this is like Christmas! I can’t believe all this stuff and all you do. where is this church I want to come. She just kept saying thank you ,over and over again. Pray for her safety and a home

Raymond looks good his cancer is in remission ,Please continue to pray for his complete healing, He is a war Veteran Who finally has housing and he comes to church a lot. Thanks for serving our Country Raymond . God bless you Veteran

Donna Jan gave her some clothes and asked her did you get a back pack, She said no, Jan said come with me and took her to the truck, Jan said anymore back packs left and they said one, Donna said oh my God I can’t believe this, Jan said yes God wanted you to have this back pack, he saved this last one for you. She was so thankful and amazed at all we do and gave, she wanted to know where the church is and said I want to come to that church. You people are so wonderful to do this.

Maria asked for a plastic bag as her son wanted it to clean up all the trash on the lawn. God bless them.

Vinny shared his lunch with a man who did not get one

So many people were so amazed at all you give and do for others

Love Speaks: So many people come running to us for a hug. They know in their hearts that our love is real. Some people were hard and cold to us for quite awhile years back,as they didn’t trust people, but we just kept telling them Jesus loves you and we love you too and we’d give them a hug. Now it brings tears to our eyes as they run to us to give us a hug. Praise God !

Praise God that He keeps blessing the vision He allows us all to serve together in!!!

Prayer List:

Russell Healing of a broken Hip and God knows

Joe Joe Healing & God knows

Barry Healing addiction

David Healing

Mike to live

David a place to live

Satie A home & Healing

Joslynn Healing

Mike his son Ryan

Sheri Her son, Job

Maria A job & her & her children

CHARLES A JOB

Matt addiction

Elizabeth Health

Robert miracle deliverance

Barbara needs many miracles in her family

John Culinary art Grant

Lamaze KIds, suffering

David Job & stay healthy

Mike Bear ( DOG) Get my life back

Felicia will have surgery on her vocal cords

William Dejorge Spirituality, and health

David Di His needs

Barbara God knows

Lasm suffering kids

Dennis His needs

Denise Her needs

Nicole her needs and safe& healthy delivery of her baby

Christina God knows

Andy quit smoking and deliverance of addiction

Cheryl needs a healing miracle of her Liver and pancreas ( cancer)

Cam God guides him on the right road And for his family

Rob his needs

Andy different Andy God knows

Edith needs a healing miracle Cancer Lump on her breast and lung

Joel continued strength on the recovery road

Gracie Complete healing cancer

C miracle deliverance

Car miracle healing deliverance

Viola Her boy friend David tanner needs deliverance from addiction & healing

Randy God knows

June her health Cancer miracle healing

George God knows

Paula Her son strength, needs size small men’s clothing

Maude Her children in Africa

Felicia her father-in-law almost died needs healing

Judy fractured bone will have surgery this Tuesday

Chester everything

LARRY STRENGTH

Mark his wife Roseabella self deliverance

Paul Healing of Cheryl’s legs, His sister-in-law

Ron For Al who is suicidal

Scott for his son to be born healthy

Tony has a life treating disease , Pray for his miracle, Her enjoys helping everyone, he feels blessed to do it.

Kelly for her triplet children one in college,ones a marine and one struggles

Barbara Carl died and they brought him back to life is in the hospital needs healing

Heather needs healing bronchitis Pray for her children also

Eric Family and kids

Barbara pray for her children and her mother who is raising them

Jennifer for her baby to be born healthy

Ben his daughter, good health

Jose his son and better health

Elwood get well

Lynn she has been trying to get pregnant, Her husband has low sperm count

William his Dad to get well and more direction to the Lord

Tina all who are still suffering

Mellisa Detor her needs

Carl Dunn is in ICU

A Man asked for prayer for Scott to show up

Vinny a better life and strength on his recovery road for him and his wife

All the Homeless

LIz Brenda’s mother please continue to pray for her complete healing & brenda as well

Hilda & Gary God Knows

K God knows

Ron & Cindy on the trail spreading the word that Jesus saves, please continue to pray for God’s protection & provision and for souls to be saved

Barbara Her & her family

Scott needs a complete healing of blood clots in his leg

Lidia Healing Heart problem and pray for her family as well Ronnie in Jail and hia wife and 3 babies

Maria needs a miracle deliverance

Ken finances

David his needs S&G God knows

Ronnie complete healing cancer

R&L God knows

Robert needs healing of his foot, depression & finances

J&T God knows

Joseph Guilmette needs a miracle healing cancer

Lisa Her mom needs healing cancer and her step father also needs healing cancer please pray for their miracle and for Lisa as well

Raymond God knows

William salvation for him and family

Billy needs healing miracle suicidal

Linda Healing of her depression and her mind

Anthony finances

Church family & Their’s

Pastors and Their family

You

Thank you Love & prayers from the Homeless & the early Seekers

God bless and have a great week

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Well, Tuesday nights are cordoned off for me and my wife as “date night”, and we got to spend time together tonight filling backpacks for the homeless…

Every year the Dream Center hands out about 300 backpacks filled with winter necessities to the homeless in Providence, and tonight was the night they were filled.  This year we filled 301.

There are any number of people who have been working diligently all year to make this night a possibility, and to them I say thanks….and Saturday morning when the backpacks are finally given out to people who really need them – your whole year’s worth of hard work will come to fruition.

It was a little crazy at first when we got there – lots of work to do and soooo many opinions on which was the most efficient way to organize the stuffings and fill the backpacks…but once we finally got going we had a blast…all the volunteers ended up working as one cohesive unit within an hour and we were buzzing like super busy bees in a beehive…it was pretty cool, because even a couple of the volunteers were formerly homeless – it felt special working side-by-side with someone who used to need this backpack I held in my hand knowing that this year he is on the other side…this year he is helping fill it for someone else!

So, in closing, I hope you enjoy these pics as much as I enjoyed my date-night with my special someone!!!

 

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