WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – When Warwick Police Officer Jill Marshall heard an 87-year-old woman and her 60-year-old son had run out of food and couldn’t leave the house due to coronavirus, she didn’t think twice about what she was going to do.
Last week, a local organization rang the Warwick Police, alerting them to the plight of Marie Pagliarini and her son, Carl.
“When I heard that [call] come in, I automatically said, ‘Alright, I’m going,'” Marshall told Eyewitness News on Sunday.
Marshall went to the pair’s home wearing protective gear, and quickly realized they were out of many essentials, including food. She offered to go to the store.
“[Marie] wanted to give me money, and I overheard her conversing with her son, and I heard him say to her, ‘This is all that we have left,'” Marshall said. “As she handed me this money I gave it back to her.”
Marshall planned to see if the store would make a donation and then she would cover the remaining cost herself. When she explained why she was there, the manager at a local Shaw’s gave her a $25 gift card.
The generosity didn’t stop there. Another shopper stopped Marshall and said he overheard her talking to the manger. He gave her $20. Then another man spotted Marshall shopping and gave her $20, too.
“I know times are difficult for people now, and so many people are worried about if they’re going to have a job tomorrow,” Marshall said. “So the fact that they just took out their wallet and handed me the money it just — it was so generous and thoughtful.”
But that wasn’t all; two of the store employees said they wanted to donate as well.
“I was really touched by the fact that these employees who are working really under unsafe circumstances now… that they would just, go into their own wallets,” Marshall said.
The generous strangers’ $100 in donations covered the full bill.
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When Marshall arrived back at the Pagliarini home with everything, they were floored.
“Just her face and her son’s face… it just felt so, so good and I was so happy to do it,” Marshall said. “They were just so thankful and it made my whole night.”
Carl Pagliarini, who is unable to leave the home due to underlying medical issues, told Eyewitness News over the phone he considers Marshall a superhero.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I’m still amazed now. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have had food for a few days or more.”
“I never expected anything like that in my life,” he said.
Marshall said people should never hesitate to call police to check on their neighbors or those in need during this time. She said she’s happy she was able to help and that her story has had an impact.
‘There’s so much negativity out there,” she said. “We forget that there are still many good people that are helping each other and supporting each other during this difficult time, and we can’t lose sight of that.”