Assistance from Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund.

The Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund of Providence County, Rhode Island, works to relieve the condition of struggling individuals and families that may be mired in poverty but that are working towards stability. It is run in partnership with donations from local churches and others in the community.

Clients of the non-profit program have access to free food, shelter and financial assistance, as well as other services. The Fund will also focus on individual advocacy as well as referrals to charities in the greater Providence area. The funds and resources from the center are limited based on donations and other factors.

Low-income persons and senior citizens may qualify for an array of social services, if they meet qualifications. Case management includes community education, professional training, information and referrals, and ongoing advocacy for those facing poverty. Other goal is to use money to help keep the heat on during the winter, so funds may be issued for gas, oil, and heating bills.

On the other hand, basic needs and goods such as food, clothing, school supplies, professional work attire and other items are provided on a case-by-case basis. The Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund also administers support groups for women and children and other less fortunate people in Providence County.

In addition, the agency has information on food assistance, such as the Brown Bag Lunch Program. This service offers a free lunch comprising fruit, sandwich and bottle of water to the homeless and needy when resources are available. This program is open on a walk-in basis.

Individuals in need of temporary shelter in Providence can turn to the Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund or even its church based partners for help. This service is a last-resort option that provides very short-term lodging to help alleviate emergencies, and this can be for everything from victims of DV to individuals facing imminent eviction. If no other resources are available, the Emergency Fund will do its best to offer vouchers to accommodate clients in a local motel or hotel in Providence.

The agency manages other shelter services that offer clients additional forms of assistance. This provides crisis intervention, case management, injunction assistance and advocacy, among other resources. Shelter guests will also receive free food and clothing. Senior citizens and those seeking employment also have access to limited transportation services through this shelter.




Food pantries operated by churches in Providence County feature canned goods, holiday meal baskets, perishable food, formula and other items. The organization also administers a feeding program that offers hot, nutritious meals free of charge from a soup kitchen.

A number thrift stores are located throughout Providence County. These centers are stocked with goods for women, such as dresses, blankets, socks, linens, hygiene products and over-the-counter medications. It does not end there, as there are also children’s goods, including low cost baby wipes, diapers and shampoo, socks, undergarments, pajamas, and school supplies.

Furthermore, as donations allow, the Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund affiliated thrift stores offer general items, such as plastic cups and bowls, paper products, silverware, pots and pans, cleaning supplies, alarm clocks, and even freezer and storage bags for sale to the public.

While limited, the Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund tries to provide financial assistance or cash grants to qualified individuals and families as a means to help them achieve independence and stability. All recipients of these funds must be working toward self-sufficiency and a stable income.

Clients can use the financial support to help cover the costs of utility or heating service, rent to stop evictions and/or prescription medications. The organization emphasizes high-risk clients, such as single moms, senior citizens living on a fixed income and families with young children. Residents with a life threatening conditions are also prime candidates for medications.

Support and guidance is available from case managers to help eligible persons apply for government aid programs. The Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund can be a source of information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and many other resources.

Individuals who are working toward self-sufficiency and stability, such as a General Educational Development (GED) diploma, can find support through the Interfaith Community Fund. GED classes offer clients the opportunity to work at their own pace, and additional tutoring and guidance is available. The organization also helps clients develop résumés and search for employment in Providence and across Rhode Island.




During the holiday season, the agency has information on where to turn to for special Thanksgiving and free Christmas programs across the state of Rhode Island. Examples include free meals or toys and gifts for children from Angel Tree and Adopt a Family. The goal is to help needy children and senior citizens.

There are a few intake numbers to call in the region, as noted here. The Interfaith Community Dire Emergency Fund can be contacted in West Warwick at (401) 823-6211, South County ((401) 783-3149), in the city of Providence ((401) 421-7833) or Woonsocket (dial (401) 762-0634).


By Jon McNamara

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