Neighbors helping neighbors: 2 local communities rally together to help those in need

It's Good News

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — If you have lived in South County, or still currently do, you may know who Mary Hughes is.

What started as help for Hughes, a GoFundMe page has now created a movement for others in need.

Hughes says she’s hopeful she can somehow pay it forward after the community recently helped her out when she needed it. But community members say they were really paying her back for everything she’s done for them over the years.

“We’re in crisis here. Our country is in crisis. This is giving people hope,” Julie Silvestri said.

Social media can be a source of negativity, but it can also have a positive impact on people. The communities of South Kingstown and Narragansett have decided to use the power of social media to help their own who are in need, including Hughes.

Hughes was inducted into the Rhode Island Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame last month at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.

“Mary’s done a lot for the community. Mary’s been around forever. I’ve known Mary for pretty close to 40 years. She’s umpired by softball games back when I started,” a community member explained.

“I was amazed that anyone would even consider me for something like this because I’ve always done it because I loved it. And it’s nice to get recognition, it really is, but I’d never expect to get anything like this,” Hughes said.

Hughes recently fell on some hard times and had no way to replace her car. That’s when Silvestri organized a GoFundMe page to raise money for Hughes to get a workable car — and word got out fast.

“That’s just what we do. After about six days, we had $12,000, and I wasn’t surprised,” Silvestri explained. “This isn’t about me. This was about our community. This is what our community does. After six days, we had that much, and it was time to move on to the next family that needed help here.”

Their mission is only just beginning.

“It could be me tomorrow. They don’t all know me, and I know that if I needed something, they’d be there for me,” Silvestri said.

Since helping Huges, they’ve helped a single father with four children who experienced a house fire, they’ve helped find a missing boy, and they’ve provided emotional support to a grieving mother who just lost her son.

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