PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — At just 18-year-old Paul Guevremont Jr. has collected thousands of pounds of food for people in need — twice.
“To do it again and have it even bigger the second time, it’s incredible,” he said.
Paul and his family organized the first 2020 Vision to End Food Drive in March. In May they donated 8,000 pounds of food, and on Sunday they donated even more.
“Last time went so well and this time it was even bigger which came to as a shock to us. All this in a short period of time, it’s amazing,” Paul said.
Paul said seeing lines of people at food pantries during the height of the pandemic motivated him to make a difference — but he said there is another reason he wanted to give back.
[Pointing to his dad] “Him. He had a stroke and so when I was a freshman everybody came around to help us, and so it’s important now to give back now that we’re back on our feet and not everyone is.”
“As a family it was tough. My daughter, her pancreas stopped working so she was diagnosed as type 1 diabetic so now she is insulin dependent and three months later I had a stroke. The same ones that did this, helped us,” Paul Guevremont Sr. said.
The Pawtucket Soup Kitchen feeds hundreds of people every day. Executive Director Adrienne Marchetti told 12 News, this donation will make it possible to feed their increased demand.
“This year we have seen such a dramatic increase in the number of meals we have had to serve as well as the homeless population has just grown out of control. I have no words. I am still amazed, I’m sorry it’s just so overwhelming. This is such a great support for our community,” Marchetti said.
“Everybody is out of jobs, a lot more people are sick and businesses are being shut down so we thought now is a good time to help people,” Paul said.
The family used social media, word of mouth, and made announcements during Mass at St. Theresa’s Church for the drive.
Paul said the whole community stepped up to help and he encourages others to do the same.
“Help in any way you can, any small, it doesn’t have to be this big. We didn’t think it would be this big so any small way helps so many people that you don’t realize.”
Paul said this isn’t just a 2020 need, and they will continue until the need stops.
You can learn more about the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen and how to help or receive services on their website.