Communities across the United States are scrambling to stop the spread of coronavirus. Churches, businesses, individuals and local governments are teaming up to care for their neighbors.
Rhode Island is no exception. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency has opened temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness. As Pamela Leary from RIEMA explains:
“The Governors’ office, the RI Emergency Management Agency, countless other state agencies. private industry and organizations such as Church World Service, have been working tirelessly to meet the Governors’ objective: to keep all of the residents of RI, especially its most vulnerable populations, safe during this unprecedented crisis.
“Part of this initiative included the setup of many exterior shelters outside of our existing homeless shelters, to allow for more social distancing, and also to assure that no person in need is turned away. These shelters were outfitted with heat, power, bathrooms with the ability to sanitize, and cots. The shelters soon realized that this extension exceeded the resources that they had on hand during ‘normal’ operations, such as additional blankets.”
REIMA contacted Newman Congregational Church, a longtime supporter of the CWS Blankets program. They were looking for blankets for these temporary shelters.
Rev. Timoth Sylvia from Newman contacted CWS to see how we could help. And of course, we were glad to answer the call. Within a couple of days, 50 warm wool blankets were on their way.
“The blankets that were received were immediately distributed to three local homeless shelters, occupied by some of our most vulnerable residents. Thank you for answering this urgent and immediate call to action. Please stay safe and know that your efforts were truly appreciated,” Pamela said.
CWS Community Engagement Specialist Adam Smedberg helped organize the blanket delivery. “The resources we held were needed by our neighbors and we are thrilled to be able to share them,” he said.
When requests like this come in, it isn’t just Church World Service that answers the call. It’s a huge network of churches and supporters nationwide. And we couldn’t respond without them. Thank you to everyone who makes these programs possible.