One year ago, on March 2, 2020, the first two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Rhode Island. As the days ticked by, the news of the spreading virus grew louder and shelter in place orders became our new reality. The world as we knew it seemed to come to a screeching halt.
But FSRI was already busy—brainstorming ways to help children and families in need. As store shelves began to run bare with panic, basics like masks, cleaning supplies, sanitizer, diapers, and toilet paper were increasingly in short supply for everyone. FSRI recognized early on there was an accessibility gap emerging that prevented many families from getting what they needed to stay safe.
It started with a simple idea—raise $5000 to buy enough PPE, cleaning supplies, and food to supply 200 FSRI clients that might need help finding and purchasing these items to keep themselves and their families safe.
It was an effort that FSRI leaders thought might last a week—or a few weeks.
But as time went on, that idea became a statewide movement in simple kindness. With a groundswell of support, volunteers and staff began assembling kits of supplies to be delivered to anyone that told us they needed one. The Be Safe campaign was born, bridging the accessibility gap for any Rhode Islander that needed it.
Over 25 area organizations donated supplies, time, effort, and money, alongside over 1200 everyday Rhode Islanders, who chipped in what they could– all while experiencing uncertainty themselves– to make sure their neighbors had what they needed to be safe, too.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year. Today we are grateful to say, because of your kindness, we’ve served over 35,000 Rhode Islanders in an effort that has truly saved lives. We did this, all of us – together.
There’s been immense grief and loss over the past 12 months. But we’re still here, delivering assistance to the doorsteps of those in need each day to keep ALL Rhode Islanders healthy and safe, as we figure this out together. And it’s still going. But we can’t do it without you.
To continue to support the Be Safe RI program, text BESAFE to 44321.