EDITORIAL

A great new beginning for Westbay

Posted 3/5/20

Life never lets you know before it's about to deal you a bad hand. Bad news and unfortunate luck always seems to strike at a time when you're least equipped to handle it - whether during a tumultuous time at work or in the midst of other stressors that

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EDITORIAL

A great new beginning for Westbay

Posted

Life never lets you know before it’s about to deal you a bad hand. Bad news and unfortunate luck always seems to strike at a time when you’re least equipped to handle it – whether during a tumultuous time at work or in the midst of other stressors that necessitate your time, attention and energy.

This is why, even if things are going well for you and your loved ones, it is important to never forget that fortunes can change in the blink of an eye – and why it’s important to never take for granted the people and the services that are available to those who are in need of a helping hand, even if just to get back on their feet again.

We write often here in this space to congratulate the achievements of members of our community and recognize the charitable work of various organizations and entities within our state. Truly, although there are plenty of people in the world who would rather spread a toxic message of negativity, we are fortunate in Rhode Island to have many people who wake up every day with one goal in mind – to make the lives of others just a little bit less burdensome.

We see this in every facet of our community, from the people who provide emergency sheltering to those who need it, to those who help get dogs in need of permanent homes adopted, to organizations whose sole purpose is to help people navigate the complex bureaucracy of society and lessen some red tape-covered obstacles on the way to a more successful and safer tomorrow.

Among the most generous entities doing this work in Warwick, though, has to be Westbay Community Action. For nearly 55 years – 20 of those from their humble space in Buttonwoods – Westbay has provided essential services to those who most need it, quietly and efficiently. They help heat the homes of those who can’t afford it and weatherize houses to keep that warmth in, they help our senior citizens with a variety of needs and offer community services that benefit thousands of Warwick residents each year.

We were disappointed when, late last year, a proposal to move Westbay into the former Randall Holden School was shot down by a selection of neighbors who were more concerned about their property values than they were for the wellbeing of their fellow human beings. We wondered if another suitable location would arise to enable Westbay to continue their important work in the capacity they required and deserved.

Happily, Mayor Joseph Solomon and Westbay President and CEO Paul Salera kept working at the solution and, on Wednesday, the group officially celebrated its move into the former Citizens Bank customer service center at 487 Jefferson Boulevard.

The building will offer the opportunity to house over 40 programs and 55 Westbay staff, while providing a convenient location for clients to park and access via public transportation without any interruptions to services. Programs will be moved into the new building on a staggered basis, with many services already in the new spot and others coming by March 20 and later this summer.

We are lucky to have an organization like Westbay in Warwick, and we are lucky that another suitable location was available and could be arranged and obtained through good due diligence of the city and Mayor Solomon’s office. It is a positive bit of news that everyone can get behind and support. After all, you never know if you may need their support one day as well.

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