Trained Domestic Violence Resource Center help-line volunteers connect at-risk residents with support groups and court advocacy, and are able to guide victims of domestic violence through the legal system. None of those services are possible without the aid of compassionate volunteers to help their neighbors in need. 61 Main Street, Wakefield. 782-4173.
Family Service of Rhode Island’s statewide initiative supports the wellbeing of the community by partnering with innovative programs, including AIDS Project RI. They help parents, kids and families in crisis. Emergency food pantry open Monday and Thursday, 9am-4pm, Wednesday 9am-12pm. 415 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown. Office: 667-7502, Intake: 515-2280.
Part of a global housing organization, South County Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing. They construct, rehab and create homes in partnership with people in need, as well as advocate for fair and just housing policies that improve shelter conditions. Volunteers keep hammers swinging on all fronts, from construction to administrative help to even feeding volunteer construction crews. 1555 Shannock Road, Charlestown. 213-6711.
A thrift shop, food pantry, social services and educational assistance can all be found at Jonnycake Center of Westerly, where a continuum of services assists people through crisis situations. JCW works with each individual to find a path out of dependency toward self-sufficiency. Volunteers can help at any of these year-round services, or by joining any number of seasonal programs like serving breakfast and lunch to school kids during summer vacation or distributing Thanksgiving food baskets. 23 Industrial Drive, Westerly. 377-8069.
Regardless of age, experience, background or availability Literacy Volunteers of Washington County has a volunteer opportunity for you. Anyone with a desire to make a difference are welcome to contribute to the adult literacy program through tutoring and helping adults prepare for the GED. 93 Tower Street, Westerly. 596-9411.
Helping financially strapped neighbors needing home repair, maintenance or necessary additions, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Rhode Island improves the quality of life for many residents. Volunteer to build ramps, paint, repair steps and porches, patch roofs and more to help neighbors who are struggling with the financial and maintenance demands of owning a home. PO Box 406, Charlestown. 601-5621.
The North Kingstown Food Pantry provides emergency food assistance and services to individuals and families in North Kingstown. Volunteers of all ages can donate time and non-perishable food items to help hungry neighbors in need of short-term aid. 445 School Street, North Kingstown. 885-3663.
Addressing poverty issues, Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need is dedicated to food security issues and breaking the cycle of poverty. Offering emergency food and outreach to at-risk neighbors they also provide assistance with clothing and furniture. Volunteers can lend a hand in everything from answering phones and stocking warehouse shelves to sitting in on the event planning committee. 805 Alton Carolina Road, Charlestown. 364-9412.
South Kingstown CARES’ district-wide program benefits both students and the community by engaging hundreds of volunteers to help out in the schools. Each year, volunteers help their cause by mentoring local students in and out of the classroom. 109 Kersey Road, Wakefield. 360-1304.
In collaboration with area churches, the WARM Center (Westerly Area Rest Meals) provides hope, dignity, food and shelter to the homeless and needy. Support services include a 19 bed emergency shelter for adults and emergency apartments for families, as well as the only soup kitchen in the region that operates every day of the year. Here, volunteers can serve neighbors in need two meals a day. 56 Spruce Street, Westerly. 596-9276.
Meet the Volunteer
Betty Barrett, Domestic Violence Resource Center
After Betty Barrett’s first visit to the Domestic Violence Resource Center – to drop off gift certificates she and her colleagues donated to DVRC’s Safe House – she saw the importance of such services and the need for more volunteers. Barrett, a Wakefield resident and realtor, knew she wanted to do more. Of her volunteer experience – assisting victims with safe shelter, phone calls and offering a sympathetic ear to those who need to talk – she says, “It’s opened my eyes about the problems many people, both men and women, have. When I’ve mentioned that I volunteer for DRVC, I’ve been asked if there really is a need in South County. It’s amazing how many people don’t realize how important this service is in all communities.”