Today, we join with family friends to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. First proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, while this country was embroiled in the Civil War, it started as a day to give thanks to the creator for all that we richly have been given.
This account led me to think about how people in need are treated in my community, and to see how we minister to the most vulnerable among us. That, of course, gave me an opportunity to think of the many programs that have been started in the nearly 13 years that I have served as mayor. The establishment of the Everett Wilcox Family Health Center, the creation of the West Bay Smiles Dental program, our successful Neighbors Helping Neighbors family assistance programs, changes in accessibility to food stamps, affordable housing programs, working to make Warwick the first hunger-free community in the state, and many others.
Most importantly, it made me take stock in things that have occurred in the time that I have been in office, particularly the unbelievable success that capital fund drives or campaigns have had in Warwick.
When you look at the generosity that has been given to local non-profit agencies, you can see that in less than 13 years the Warwick community has responded with nearly $40 million in funds. And this does not include annual giving, volunteer hours and other services – including the fact that Kent Hospital alone provides more than $5 million of uncompensated care to the community annually. $40 million in community-based support for local agencies ministering the sick, the friendless and the needy. Talk about manifold and great mercies.
In the coming year, I hope that the people of this fine community will join me in supporting our local partners and living out these ancient words: to care for the least among us is truly a calling.
(The title for this op-ed comes from a prayer said after the consecration but before the administration of communion in the Episcopal Church. It is taken from the Holy Eucharist Rite I prayers.)