N. Providence not part of the problem with lower donations

N. Providence not part of the problem with lower donations

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Of four communities with new for-profit textile collection programs, North Providence is the only one that hasn’t seen a dip in donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island, and that’s largely due to the responsiveness of Mayor Charles Lombardi, say staff for the nonprofit.

Lombardi “was so quick to act” when staff originally approached him last year about adding donation containers, said Katje Afonseca, executive director of the organization.

For a Breeze story last week, she and others highlighted overall decline in donations brought on by the new for-profit curbside recycling program from Simple Recycling in the four communities, but didn’t break down the numbers by community or indicate that North Providence hadn’t seen a dip.

George Evans Marley, director of development and community relations for BBBS of R.I., said North Providence has actually seen a substantial increase in donations this year over last year. From January to September of 2018, 44,334 pounds of items were collected from town residents. From January to September of this year, 50,303 pounds were collected, for an increase of 5,969 pounds or nearly 12 percent overall, he said.

“The mayor’s quick and supportive actions resulted in an increase in donations in North Providence,” Afonseca said. “In other cities and towns without a similar response, there has been a decline.”

The Breeze reported last week that while Lombardi sympathizes with the group and its decline in donations, his job is to keep items out of the landfill. He noted how he helped find the organization additional collection box locations in town, and said he also gives a donation each year through his winter ball fundraiser.

According to donation numbers provided by Marley this week, the three other communities with Simple Recycling programs saw the following declines in contributions for the first nine months of 2019 compared to 2018:

• Bristol – 27,873 pounds down to 21,949 pounds, or a drop of 5,924 pounds, or 21 percent overall.

• Coventry – 58,695 pounds down to 50,554 pounds, or a drop of 8,141 pounds, or 14 percent overall.

• And Middletown – 13,874 pounds down to 13,512 pounds, or a drop of 362 pounds, or nearly 3 percent overall.