Help Pawtucket Adopt-a-Family program buy shoes for children

Help Pawtucket Adopt-a-Family program buy shoes for children

PAWTUCKET – Faced with continued strong demand but dwindling donations, the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen’s Ernie Marot Memorial Adopt-a-Family Program is seeking cash contributions to help defray the cost of gift cards to buy shoes for children. A total of 100 children are enrolled in this year’s program, and many of them have requested new shoes for Christmas.

To ensure that the shoes fit each child properly, a gift card is given with their presents so they are able to purchase a pair of new shoes, a luxury for many of the children in the program, say organizers.

Pawtucket Soup Kitchen Director Adrienne Marchetti said the program, named for the organization’s founder, has 36 families participating this year.

“The program is important because these families would go without on the holidays,” she said. “Resources over the years for programs of this type have been dwindling, which is all the more reason our program needs to be successful.”

Families enrolled this year either live in public housing, are homeless, or are involved in the Child Opportunity Zone (COZ) program through the Pawtucket School Department, she said. There are also several families from the Weber-Renew project, formerly known as Project Renew, helping women who are trying to be reunited with their children and re-establishing their lives.

“The common denominator with all these folks is they do not have any means of obtaining gifts for their kids,” said Marchetti.

Qualifying families meeting guidelines to qualify as low income and not having access to another similar program are invited to complete a wish list. Organizers then find donors for each family, and the donors purchase what they can from the wish list.

A party will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, 195 Walcott St., where families are given gifts, a box of food, and gift certificates for a new pair of shoes.

“Our goal at the soup kitchen is to make these kids have a memorable holiday,” said Marchetti. “So many of them have been through unimaginable heartache, disappointments and tragedy, so they deserve to have a day where they can be a kid and have fun, just like other kids.”

All of the families are from Pawtucket and Central Falls, so donors can be sure the local community is taken care of, she said.

Santa Claus and Paws from the Pawtucket Red Sox will be at the Dec. 16 event, which is held only for participating families. Child-friendly activities and lunch are provided.

Anyone interested in making a donation can either mail a check, payable to “Pawtucket Soup Kitchen,” to PO Box 3102, Pawtucket, RI 02861, or drop off a check at the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, located at 195 Walcott St., in the basement.

The Soup Kitchen is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are exempt, to the extent allowed by the law. All donors are provided with a receipt of their donation. For more information on making a donation, call 401-258-4616, email pawtucketsoupkitchen@gmail.com or visit www.pawtucketsoupkitchen.org .