Category Archives: Community Events (not necessarily RIDC)

Friday nights are always fun nights on the Food Truck, but this one will have a bit of a somber tone…you see, this coming Friday night there will be a candlelight vigil in honor of two homeless men who recently passed away – Luis Belmont and Milton Lyles.

We usually crank up some old-school music, dance while we pass out food, and make sure we hand out more smiles than hot dogs on Friday nights, but we’ll have candles instead on Friday.  After we finish our normal Food Truck run to the Overflow Shelter at the ACI and our Salvation Army hot-spot on Broad Street, we will mosey on down to the vigil to show our support – a stark reminder of how precious life is and how tough living on the streets can be.

The vigil will be held Friday night around 7pm (until shortly after sunset) at Cathedral Square in Providence, right out in front of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral.  It is being sponsored by a couple of groups that we bump into from time-to-time when we are out feeding the homeless, Breadlines Ministries, the Blackstone Valley Catholic Workers, and the “And You Found Me” Ministries…These groups have been out feeding the homeless for quite a long time now, and it is such a blessing whenever we run into them on the streets as we get to encourage each other while we spread the Love to the city.  None of us is in this alone.  The other group sponsoring the event is the Statewide Outreach Committee, who are constantly out there lending a helping hand.

I spoke to Wendy Thomas, of the Coalition about the vigil, and she hopes that it raises awareness for the need for affordable housing for the homeless and low-income.  In an ideal world, she states, the housing would also be on a bus line so people would be able to find transport for jobs that would support themselves and their families.

A similar vigil was held in May for homeless Warwick man who passed away.

You can read more about Mr. Belmont and My Lyles in this Projo article. While I can not vouch for the character of these men, as I did not know them personally, I can say that I will stand with my fellow street-workers and homeless friends in solidarity as we remember that some members of our society will be going to sleep hungry, outside tonight…

If you can make it, please join us as we come together in strength and unity…if we can just reach one more person, and help get them out of a life of destruction, all the time and hard work is well worth it.  Throughout the years, I’ve learned that you can never give up on anyone, because their breakthrough might literally be right around the corner!


Let me know if you are planning on going, and if you do go please visit this blog again and post your own thoughts through the comments section!!!


Candlelight Vigil

The RI Dream Center had a wonderful opportunity to sit and talk with Matthew Barnett, of the Dream Center in Los Angeles, last year – and he helped us tremendously with support as well as advice for our up-and-coming organization.  Now, it’s time to give back to the Dream Center out in LA.

The city of LA is working towards a law that would prohibit public feeding of the poor in certain sections of the city.  While I do not know the landscape of that city, or the reasons that the public officials are working on this, I do know that their plans will impact and impede the work of the Dream Center out in LA.  Therefore, I ask that you take a look at the request below from Matthew Barnett asking for the city to reconsider; and if it seems right to you, I would ask that you sign the petition.  I hope they can all come to a satisfactory compromise.

I can only imagine how the RI Dream Center would be impacted if we were restricted from feeding and clothing those less fortunate.  Thankfully, we have been very fortunate.  In fact, our city has welcomed us with open arms and I believe it will continue to do so.

So, please take a moment to take a look at the open letter from Matthew Barnett below and sign the petition if you feel led to.

Thanks for your time!!

Los Angeles City Council, Mayor Eric Garcetti: We ask that the Los Angeles City Council retract Motion 13-1238 to restrict non-commercial feeding programs in public rights of way.

The Los Angeles City Council is considering a ban on the public feeding those in need. That means that charities, churches and other organizations that feed those in need could face large fines and even arrest if they are caught feeding the homeless.

If the City of Los Angeles is successful banning public feeding single mothers, young families, veterans, the elderly, homeless, and food insecure individuals that depend on The Dream Center and other agencies to help provide much needed meals and food will go hungry.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Feeding America have previously reported that 1,636,100 people were food insecure in Los Angeles. Included in this number are 643,640 children, 31% of whom are likely ineligible for federal nutrition programs. Although the federal government funds seventeen food assistance programs, 52% of food insecure individuals in Los Angeles County do not qualify under federal guidelines for these nutrition programs.

If the government isn’t feeding the hungry, and won’t allow nonprofit organizations, churches, and compassionate individuals to fill in the gap, what hope do these people have to survive in our city?

As the pastor at The Dream Center, I’ve seen firsthand the difference that we make in feeding those in need. Every month we provide over 36,000 hot meals, groceries to 40,000 people and 1,000,000 pounds of food to relieve hunger. I look into the faces of young mothers every month and I see the relief they have when they know that their child will have something to eat. We are one of many organizations that do this work, because the need is so great.

The last thing our city needs, in the midst of rising homelessness, is to restrict the goodwill of the people. We house hundreds of families and individuals who would otherwise be homeless and have invested millions of dollars to help our community — and not depend upon the government to provide the solution. Please help support this important cause by signing the petition.

Hey, thanks for checking in!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The RIDC is wrapping up another year, and we have sooooo much to be thankful for. This has been a banner year a for the RI Dream Center and we have been given the opportunity to help more people this year than other year.

Today, we partnered with a number of local organizations for the largest Thanksgiving Day dinner we’ve ever been a part of.  A full turkey dinner with all the fixings and dessert was provided to RI’s homeless for free in a wonderful event this afternoon.

Many thanks to all the other volunteers who spent time organizing the event, setting up for the big day, driving the buses and picking the homeless up and then dropping them back off where they are staying, cooking all that wonderful food, serving graciously, greeting our guests, cleaning up throughout the event and setting the church back up after the event was over.   You did an amazing job.

Thank you, volunteers and sponsors of this event – you made this day possible.  Volunteers from the organizations below raised all the donations, did all the cooking, and supplied all the volunteers:

One guest I met (named Darnell) was so thankful for the meal…with a great big smile he told me, “My plate was so full, I couldn’t fit any more food on it!!!  I don’t want any more turkey an entire year!  Thanks so much!!!”

Some of our guests sleep at Harrington Hall, a men’s shelter on the ACI campus – Harrington Hall’s roof leaked pretty badly yesterday and into the night last night, and some of the guys told me their beds had gotten wet from the rain – and in this cold weather it makes it so much worse.  Apparently, Harrington Hall is partitioned off right now, with fewer open beds than normal.  I’m so glad we were able to bring some smiles to some faces today – especially knowing what they went through last night and what they have to look forward to tonight…

Thanks to all. I am truly sorry if I missed saying thanks to anyone…although from what I witnessed today, with so many volunteers coming together as one and acting as one cohesive unit, I’m pretty sure you aren’t worried about getting the proper credit…your satisfaction comes from within!

I know it really warmed the hearts of the volunteers to be able to come together as one group and serve the needy.

Thanks to all who support the RIDC throughout the year.  Please remember the churches and non-profits listed above this giving season, and please support those restaurants listed above this holiday season!!!

Hope you have as much fun today with your family as we did with ours!!!

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Check out this great article posted by Mark Schieldrop in the Cranston Patch.  This is not an RIDC event, but we think it’s a great idea!!!  Details Barbershop is giving free haircuts to the guys at Harrington Hall in a couple of weeks.  It’s a great cause to get behind, and I am sure they would appreciate any donations you can give them.

If you want to help, Details Barbershop is located at 891 Dyer Ave. Stop in anytime or call 401-383-8990.

My friend Jan sent me a link today that tells RI’ers where they can donate winter coats if they have extras, and where they can get winter coats for free if they have need. 

This is not an RI Dream Center event, but the cause is so worthy I just needed to share it.  Some of our readers might be able to spare a coat, and I know some of our readers could use one. 

Please check out the article below from Prosperity for RI’s website


2013 BND sites in Rhode Island

The 17th Annual Buy Nothing Day Winter Coat Exchange

Friday November 29, 2013

If you have a coat to give, please drop it off.  If you need a coat, please pick one up. 

Some see Buy Nothing Day as an escape from the marketing mind games and the frantic consumer binge that has come to characterize the holiday season.  Others use it to expose the environmental and ethical consequences of over-consumption.  In Rhode Island  as part of International Buy Nothing Day, we hold a winter coat exchange in various locations around the state, where people who can donate coats, do so, and people who need coats pick them up.. Volunteers are needed to help with this life-affirming event.


Locations in Rhode Island

Providence  State House Lawn  brick patio across from the mall

Collection and give away   November 29 9 AM to 1 PM

Rain location  Gloria Dei Lutheran Church  15 Hayes Street  Providence

Contacts Greg Gerritt: 331-0529;;

Phil Edmonds: 461-3683;


Pawtucket –  175 Main St   Blackstone Valley Visitors Center

Coats accepted at the visitors center and many other locations in Pawtucket  all through November during business hours.

Collection at November Winters Farmers Markets Wednesday evening and Saturday morning at Hope Artiste Village

Coats given away Friday  Nov. 29  10AM  -2PM

Contact  Arthur Pitt ;     401-369-1918

East Providence  Bridgepoint    850 Waterman Ave

Coats collected and given away Friday November 29  9 AM to 1 PM

Coats collected throughout November at various locations in East Providence and Seekonk including the Newman YMCA.

Contact  David or Lisa Spencer  401-965-9099

Newport – St Paul’s Church 12 West Marlborough St.

Coats collected and given away 10 AM to Noon

Contact  Reverend Becky Baumann  Coats also available at other church events

Wakefield –St. Francis Church, 114 High Street,

Coats Collected and given away 10AM to noon

Contact   Tom Abbott   401-364-0778

East Greenwich      St. Luke’s Church, 99 Pierce Street, East Greenwich

Drop Off and Exchange 10 am – 2 pm    In downstairs cafeteria.

Contact:  Jean Ann Guliano, 401-323-5196,

Greater Providence YMCA’s sites

All sites collecting coats throughout November    Most sites distributing Coats on November 29   9 AM to 1 PM

East Side/Mount Hope

Drop off coats throughout November   Not a distribution site

Contact    Christy Clausen    401-521-0155


West Bay Family YMCA Branch

Collection and distribution site

Contact   Kaitlyn Rooney     401-295-6501

Cranston YMCA

Collection and distribution site

Contact   Mike Norklun     401-943-0444


Bayside YMCA

Collection and distribution site

Contact   Michael Squatrito    401-245-2444


Kent County YMCA

Collection and distribution site

Contact  Patricia Driscoll     401-828-0130



South County YMCA

Collection and distribution site

Contact    Melissa Bousquet   401-783-3900


Newman YMCA (Seekonk, MA)

Collection site only

Contact    Paula Roy  508-336-7103