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.
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:
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!!!
We received a wonderful email this morning from one of the volunteers at the backpack giveaway…I hope you enjoy!
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!
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!!!
Russell Healing of a broken Hip and God knows
Joe Joe Healing & God knows
Barry Healing addiction
Mike to live
David a place to live
Satie A home & Healing
Mike his son Ryan
Sheri Her son, Job
Maria A job & her & her children
CHARLES A JOB
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
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
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
Church family & Their’s
Pastors and Their family
Thank you Love & prayers from the Homeless & the early Seekers
God bless and have a great week
Well, it’s been a busy few days at the RI Dream Center.
Last night, we had an RIDC meeting and we talked about a lot of exciting things coming up in the next month or so.
We talked about our annual upcoming Hope for the Homeless Event coming up on November 9th (we are having a festival for the homeless and raising awareness for their plight on Nov. 9). We’ve held this event at a number of different churches throughout the years – this year it will be at our home office at Praise Tabernacle Church.
We also talked about organizing the inventory and purchasing the rest of the items needed for our backpack drive (we are handing out 300 backpacks filled with winter necessities to the homeless on Nov. 16), It’s always a blast hanging out with the team as they hand out the backpacks each year.
We also talked about some really great, strategic partnerships we are forming with other organizations working towards the same goals we are reaching towards. I am really excited about this opportunity. That’s all I can say for now…but I am really excited about these partners (that is an enormous understatement).
The whole time we were talking about our upcoming events, we had a whole ‘nother planning committee meeting in one of the other rooms to plan the H4H event out in greater detail. It’s looking like they are planning a walk downtown and through Kennedy Plaza to raise awareness for the homeless. This year’s event has the makings of the biggest and best H4H event thus far.
All this was going on while Praise Tab was having its youth service, Youth Redefined…it’s exciting being there with so many other people, working towards the good of the community and building off of everyone else’s energy…we are all feeding each other and pushing each other to do things bigger and better.
And the same thing happened tonight…George got everything ready for me for the Food Truck tonight because I was short my regular prep-guy…while he was preparing the soups, hot cocoa, etc, the leader of the Narcotics Anonymous meeting was setting up in the next room over. Once the Food Truck finally got going, the church had its prayer meeting in the next room over on the other side! When I came back to clean up after the Food Truck, the NA meeting was just finishing up…it is an exciting time to be involved in all this stuff…and I truly believe we are making a significant impact in the community.
Tonight, for instance, we fed seventy-two people on the Food Truck. It was the first real cold night of the season I have been out there since last Winter, and a lot of the people we feed are people we have been feeding Winter after Winter…some seem to be stuck in the system, but I really hope they can find a way out. One of my regulars loves coming out to hear my music (tonight I had a Stevie Wonder mixtape blasting through my little boombox)…they call him Alabama and he stays over by Prairie Ave. Sometimes he is completely drunk and just dances to the music the whole time, and other times he is sober and just wants to say hi. He always says, “I knew it was you because I could hear your music!!!” No matter what, he always brings a smile to our faces, and it’s these simple, yet significant, interactions that really make the Food Truck special to be a part of.
But, the whole night was not rosy on the truck…(by the way, thank you to the gentleman that donated that new truck to us…we thoroughly enjoyed the heat tonight….our old truck did not have heat!!!)…because we came upon a set of two Providence police cars and a fire truck with their lights flashing on Broad Street…and sure enough, there was a woman completely laid out (drunk, high, not really sure, but she looked to be in a really bad way) and she had one of the yellow Live It Up hoodies we gave away last year as Christmas presents to the homeless. I still am not quite sure who it was…but to see that woman laying on the side of the road, completely motionless, broke my heart and I still can’t get the image out of my head. Imagine, last year at Christmastime, she came into the church and we gave her a sweatshirt…10 months later she is using it to keep her warm, but is passed out on the side of the road…
It hurts me even more because tomorrow we have another event for our homeless women…tomorrow morning, at our office, we are hosting another I Need You To Survive event, where we bus homeless women in and give them free makeovers, haircuts, dyes, etc…the difference between being passed out on Broad Street and showing up to our event tomorrow could be razor-thin for these ladies…and I hope that we can help them all!
In fact, to tie it all together, let me take this opportunity to brag on Maria…I first met Maria several years ago at a shelter on Cranston Street. She was doing ok, but still getting into trouble in certain areas…fast-forward a few years, she has turned things around significntly…she is off the streets in her own apartment with her new husband (she and William recently celebrated their one-year-anniversary! they were married through The Covenant, another service provided through the RI Dream Center) and Maria and her husband are super-faithful in helping me on Friday nights with the Food Truck. Tomorrow, she will be dropping by to take part of INU2S to get her hair done…I am sooooo happy that Maria is moving in the right direction and am extremely proud of her. As I drove by the woman laying on the street tonight, I was struck by the thought of how many other women this woman was representing, and as I looked over at Maria, I thought to myself, “how can we help more and more and more….just one at a time….just make an impact….just be there to help someone make a change…”…I’ll cry myself to sleep tonight thinking about that woman passed out on the side of the road…police and rescue were taking care of her…I’m so glad that Maria is helping to take care of others…
Well, Dream Center Diary, I think that is enough for tonight…we will be back at it soon…as I think about all the ways people are touched in that building on a nightly basis, I am truly excited about what our future holds…imagine the impact you and I can make together for those less fortunate throughout the next fifty years!!!
So, if you’ve been following the Dream Center Diary, you know we have a lot going on right now. We are working feverishly raising donations for our backpack drive and putting together the finishing touches on this year’s Hope for the Homeless event. Meanwhile, the Food Truck is still going strong, and Early Seekers is seeing more visitors than ever before.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of tunnel-vision while this is going on, focusing solely on the tasks at hand. However, I want to make sure we remember to take the time to thank our donors as well. Without you, we would not be able to operate as an organization.
So we want to take a little time to send out a couple of thank-you notes to two of our corporate sponsors:
Thank you, Blount Fine Foods.
Blount has been one of our premiere partners since the first year the Food Truck went out. When we first started, we used to ask our volunteers to make their own soup, and quite often it was not all that appetizing. We were not always putting a high-quality product out there on the streets in those early years…then, somehow we made a connection with the fine folks over at Blount. Since then, they have provided us with all the soup we can pass out every single Winter. I have no idea how much this has saved us, but I imagine it must be in the thousands of dollars by now. And because of you, Blount Fine Foods, we have been able to provide the homeless with delicious hot soup all winter long.
We recently presented Andrea Walker and Courtney Hamilton with a plaque to say thank your for their wonderful generosity:
If you get the chance, please support this fine company. My family has been eating Blount dinners for years. Wherever you are, you can find a Blount Clam Shack near you – they have locations in Providence, Warren, East Providence and Fall River. You can also find some of the freshest seafood around in their Fish Market in Warren. My wife recently brought me home a fantastic fish-n-chips from their Providence location. There are many other ways to support Blount as well…find out more by visiting their website, http://www.blountseafood.com/about-us.
Thank you Blount!!!!
Thank you, Elmwood Sports Center.
These guys have been sooooo good to us over the years. They have donated sooooo many clothes to us to give to the homeless, supporting the Early Seekers out there on Saturday mornings. This year, they have continued to step up to the plate as they have just announced they are donating 125 backpacks for us to stuff with winter necessities and hand out to the homeless this year. Elmwood Sports Center has been a continual source of support to the RI Dream Center, and we appreciate your help so much. I would certainly encourage anyone looking to fill their sporting goods needs to visit the team at Elmwood Sports before checking anyone else out. After you visit my friends at ESC, you’re not going to want to check anyone else out anyways! Just like Blount, they have donated top-notch, first-quality products to us for years, and we will never be able to thank them enough! If you need any team apparel, or just need something custom-made (just the other day, one of my friends was showing off his new custom-made hoody he got there), please visit our friends at Elmwood Sports Center on Elmwood Ave, in Cranston.
Be sure to check out Elmwood Sports Center online at http://elmwoodsportscenter.com/ or in their shop at 1553 Elmwood Ave.
There are many other corporate and personal donors that have made a huge impact this year. Blount and Elmwood Sports are all I have time for tonight, but I’d just like to send out a huge THANK YOU to all those unsung heroes (big and small) that keep the RI Dream Center up and running!!!
Hey!!! Thanks for stopping by!
We had our 2nd Annual Block Party this past weekend and it was such a blast!!! The kids had so much fun having their faces painted and playing in the bounce house, and the adults had just as much fun eating bbq while enjoying live bands…we just want to take the time to say a big, heart-felt thank you to all those who came through to support the cause.
First off, let’s thank the bands that came out and played…they did an amazing job keeping us entertained throughout the afternoon…be sure to check them out when you get a chance – you won’t be disappointed:
- The Brosvenors
- The Retake
- Linda Cantone
- 33 Lights
- Shawn Dennison
Thanks so much for taking a Saturday afternoon out of your schedule to come play for our fundraiser!
We’d like to thank all the donors as well as well. We had sooooo many donations – from food to gifts and prizes for the raffles…I am amazed at the outpouring of the business community here in Rhode Island…thank you so much for helping us stretch toward our goals!
Finally, we’d like to thank all the wonderful volunteers who spent countless hours dreaming this event up and then turning it into a reality…it would not have been possible without you…the RI Dream Center has some of the best volunteers in the world, and we appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you volunteers – you are the heart and soul of RIDC…
The weather was perfect and a great time was had by all. I must admit, though, I think Dan had the most fun – check out Facebook for a couple of videos of Dan in the dunk tank!!! Do you think anyone was able to dunk him? You’ll have to watch the videos to find out!!!
Didn’t get the chance to swing by but still want to donate? No problem…you can donate anytime through the following link: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=CzLOnQFnFkLHV6uXI6-2xOY5osKLQx_V8TjMhpW9cnDGl6VYhOSkk9kYLPO&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d0038486cd0d9a2f30f3a21df7b0d0cee
Technologically challenged? Probably not, how else would you be reading a blog!?! But, if you’d rather drop us a check, that’s fine as well. Please make it payable to “Rhode Island Dream Center” and drop it in the mail to us at 330 Park Ave., Cranston, RI 02905…
As we wrap up for today, here are a few pictures from the event:
Thanks so much for supporting the RIDC!!! And thanks for checking in today – be sure to check in soon for future posts to the Dream Center Diary!
We’d love to hear from you:
- online: http://www.ridreamcenter.com/
- phone: 401-396-2743
- email the Dream Center: firstname.lastname@example.org
- email the Dream Center blog: email@example.com