‘COVID-19 really hit our families hard’: Nonprofit sets up online store, drive to help those in need


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The oldest social service agency in Rhode Island needs your help this year.

Children’s Friend, founded in 1834 in Providence, says they have never had a year like this. Like many other businesses and community organizations, they say they have been greatly affected by the pandemic.

Stacy Couto, chief of philanthropy at Children’s Friend, says they are in the middle of setting up their holiday drive, which usually provides winter clothes and gifts for children who otherwise may not have any.

To adapt to a socially distant world, they set up an online store where people can purchase items for those in need.

“It’s changed everything that we do,” Couto said. “COVID-19 really hit our families hard.”

“When families are already living in poverty, something like this can really throw them off track,” she continued. “We transitioned to serving families remotely. It’s hard to want to provide your family with a good holiday like everybody else and have those pressures of bills, utilities, rent.”

And Couto says the pandemic is not only affecting those who use their services, but also those who usually donate.

“Folks that normally may have done the holiday drive or adopt a family, they can’t do it this year,” she added. “I think folks that would normally support families in need at this time may be out of work themselves this year.”

Donate to the Spirit of Giving Holiday Drive here »

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