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
- RI Legal Services
- Community Care Alliance
- RI Dream Center Overcomers Meeting
- Neville Bedford, Esq.
- Galilee Mission for Fisherman
- Warwick House of Hope
- The Providence Center
- Blessing Way Sober House
- The Discovery House United Health Care Community Plan
- Veteran’s Inc.
- 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….
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….
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!!!
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.
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:
- Praise Tabernacle Church, the host of the event: www.praisetab.com
- St. Michael the Archangel Church: www.stmichaelsprov.org
- St. Patrick Church: www.saintpatrickchurch.net
- 4zero1: twitter.com/4zero1
- Thirsty Beaver Hometown Pub & Grub: www.thirstybeaverri.com
- Vanity Restaurant: www.vanityri.com
- Amos House: www.amoshouse.com
- Mary House: www.maryhouseri.org
- McAuley House: www.mcauleyri.org
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!!!