NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — “Not needy enough.”
That’s what Lauren Malloy said her mother wrote in a journal just months before her untimely death.
Lori Lee Malloy was found dead in her East Providence apartment in March 1993. Her death was initially investigated a homicide, but the state medical examiner later determined the 30-year-old had died of natural causes.
Lauren, who was 18 months old at the time, grew up believing her mother had succumbed to a heart condition. But a strange phone call she received three years ago led to a nearly three-year effort to get her mother’s case reopened.
Her efforts were successful, and Lori’s body was exhumed earlier this year. Lauren told 12 News she’s still awaiting the medical examiner’s findings.
In the meantime, she takes solace in remembering her late mother.
But Lauren said that journal entry, written days before Thanksgiving 1992, hurt her heart.
“My mom wrote ‘turkey basket’ and a phone number to call,” she explained.
Based on her mother’s notes, Lauren believes she was struggling with food insecurity and got turned away when she sought help.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking,” Lauren said, adding that Lori was a single mother who relied on Section 8 and food stamps to get by. “That was tough for me to read.”
“My mom was trying so hard to support us,” she continued. “I never got a chance to make up for that Thanksgiving.”
Lauren said her mother’s journal entry has motivated her to instead make up for other families’ Thanksgivings. She’s teamed up with North Providence’s Legendary Boxing RI and Moms of Marieville to make sure those who are struggling can still celebrate the holiday.
“You think it’s not your neighbor or the kids that go to school with your children,” Moms of Marieville founder Melissa Sampaio said. “But in fact, there’s quite a bit of need in town. People don’t realize how many people actually need help.”
Moms of Marieville is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing food, clothes and holiday assistance to those in need. This will be the fourth year that Moms of Marieville and Legendary Boxing RI will be hosting their Legendary Thanksgiving Dinner Drive.
Legendary Boxing founder Jarrod Tillinghast told 12 News he’s seen firsthand the impact the drive has had over the years.
“I said to one guy, ‘Are you good for Thanksgiving? You want a turkey?'” he recalled. “He took his glasses off, he started crying and said he wasn’t going to be able to afford one.”
This year’s drive is not only dedicated to Lauren’s mother, but also to Tillinghast’s father, who passed away last year.
Lauren said her message to others this Thanksgiving is simple.
“There’s no such thing as ‘not needy enough,'” she said. “None of us can judge someone in need. If somebody says they need help, you should help them if you have the capacity to do so.”
“Don’t do it looking for a thank you or a favor in return,” she continued. “Do it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Anyone interested in donating to the dinner drive can drop nonperishable food items, frozen turkeys, infant formula or grocery store gift cards off at Legendary Boxing RI during regular business hours. Those who wish to make a monetary donation can do so online.