July 2023 Newsletter
School’s out and summer’s here at FHH — and thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, our programs are humming along. Seniors are starting to swim this week; campers are headed out for community field trips; preschoolers are engaging in outdoor water play in our playgrounds; teens are starting their internships; and we just threw our first big Providence Talks block party (see link with pictures below). There are so many ways for our community to come together and help each other thrive.
As we get back to barbecues and weekend getaways, it’s a great time to share our resources with our neighbors so they can do the same. Come volunteer at our food pantries — we are busier than ever (see below). Share your time and talents with our senior meal & activity site. Join a Providence Talks playgroup. Sign up for fall before and after school programs. Just call us to see how you can be involved – you belong here.
Summer Camp Kickoff and RIDE Programs
Summer’s here and Federal Hill House’s summer camp is in full swing! We have more than 80 children enrolled in the ten week program that features a new theme every week with field trips to match! Campers will dive deep into learning about oceans and visit the Mystic Aquarium during Oceans Week, and learn about the different cultures, customs, and traditions that make up our community during Culture Week. And of course, no summer is complete without weekly swimming at Zuccolo rec center, and trips to Houghton Pond, Lincoln State Park, and camper-favorite WaterWizz Water Park. Our staff is thrilled for camp to kick off, and we hope you are too!
We’re also proud to highlight the successful launch of two new programs funded by the Rhode Island Department of Education. With just a few months left in the school year, our team launched a new before and after school program at Carl G. Lauro Elementary School, and added a new after school program at Harry Kizirian Elementary School to pair with our existing HKE Morning Stars Program. We are incredibly proud of our staff’s rollout of these programs with 124 students participating. This fall, we’ll continue free before and after school enrichment at both Harry Kizirian and Asa Messer Elementary Schools with RIDE funding.
High Demand at FHH Food Pantries
Did you know that our Food Pantries are busier now than during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic? Federal COVID-19 response legislation significantly increased SNAP benefits for families. The extra funding expired on March 1, 2023, which reduced average monthly SNAP benefits in Rhode Island by $101 per person, according to the Center for Budget & Policy Priorities. With this, we saw a 39% jump in total visits from February to March, and the number of household visits has remained steady. Since the SNAP cuts, we have had more than two thousand unique households visiting the pantries each month. With fewer resources to put food on the table, these families have turned to our Swiss Street Food Pantry and Olneyville Food Center to make ends meet. The incredible volume of food distributed by our staff and volunteers can only be maintained with your help. Donate today and ensure that your neighbors have consistent access to healthy, culturally-sensitive food options without straining their hard-earned income.
Foster Grandparents: Role Models for our Children
Recently, we celebrated our wonderful Foster Grandparents at a luncheon in downtown Providence. The support these volunteers provide children in our early learning center is invaluable. It’s a caring smile, a puzzle partner, a playmate – or just simple interactive conversation that builds connection and communication with our littlest community members. But the program goes well beyond FHH – it provides opportunities for adults ages 55 and above to volunteer directly with young children at local community centers, day cares, schools, and other designated sites across Providence. Part of AmeriCorps Seniors, the Foster Grandparents Program (FGP) is a wonderful opportunity to positively influence young people during the most impressionable years of their lives. Income-eligible FGPs receive a non-taxable stipend of $4.00 per hour, and access to weekly professional development and FHH programs for older adults, including meals, exercise, & wellness activities. Interested? Please call Michele Matott at 401-421-4722 x 203 to learn more and apply, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.