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Warwick, Cranston nonprofits win COVID-19 aid

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Four local nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis are among dozens of organizations getting grants from a special fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and the United Way of Rhode Island. The COVID-19 Response Fund awarded $1.4 million statewide. 

Project Undercover in Warwick received $15,000 to buy approximately 90,000 diapers that will be distributed through a network of 27 nonprofit organizations. The organization expects to reach 75 percent of diaper-aged children living in poverty in Rhode Island.

“No one could have foreseen how dramatically demand for our help would increase due to the crisis. It far exceeds what we budgeted for at the beginning of the year. We have also gotten numerous phone calls at our agency from both individuals as well as agencies that we don’t usually work with. This grant gives us the resources to respond quickly, with more flexibility,” said Richard Fleischer, president of the Board of Directors.

Esperanza-Hope in Cranston received $13,000 to deliver groceries to disadvantaged families and bagged meals, blankets, masks and personal hygiene items to people who are homeless. The nonprofit estimates the grant will enable it to help hundreds of people while addressing community needs during this crisis.

“This grant is a blessing and will helps us make a positive impact and continue our mission of bringing hope and inspire a positive vision of the future for the homeless and families in need in our community, by providing charitable services during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wilda Gutierrez, president.

“Our support for disadvantage families is a way of not only feeding those who are hungry, but also to show kindness and support to those who are feeling the pain of poverty and misfortune,” she said.

CODAC Behavioral Health Care in Cranston received $15,000 to provide clients without access to the internet with smartphones that will connect them to telemedicine and telecounseling.

“Although we are clearly in the middle of a pandemic the likes of which we have never seen before, we are also still in the middle of the opioid epidemic. The individuals that CODAC serves who are working hard and courageously to heal from this opioid use disorder, rely on not just medicine, not just counseling but also the support,” said Linda Hurley, president and CEO.

“The isolation that is going hand in hand with slowing down the pandemic is a severe challenge to that healing. These phones will allow individuals who do not have telephonic access to be able to participate in counseling, in support groups, in reaching out to family members,” she said.

AccessPoint RI of Cranston will use its grants to maintain its services to over 800 adults, seniors and children with cognitive, medical and behavioral needs.

Other recipients include the Housing Network of Rhode Island, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, St. Elizabeth Community and Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice. They are among 51 nonprofits that received grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000. 

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