Joanne Bonollo

PAWTUCKET – For the month of October, Pawtucket residents are participating in the first Homeless Assistance Drive, providing health and hygiene necessities to the homeless population in the city. Items will be distributed next month.

Joanne Bonollo, lifelong resident and School Committee member, said she decided one day to hold a homeless drive to help the community. She initially presented it through the Pawtucket Municipal Women’s Caucus, a non-partisan organization of public officials, but ultimately decided to do it independently.

“I like to do things, I try to help where I can and that’s just my nature, it’s what I’ve always done,” Bonollo said. “It’s my community, I have always wanted to help.”

This drive will help the homeless by providing needed items for health and hygiene for all age groups. Items being requested include socks, undergarments, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, facecloths, deodorant, towels, menstrual products, ponchos (all weather), and blankets.

Bonollo and those she’s working with have asked for all of items being donated to be new. Used purses and handbags can also be donated, but they should be in good condition.

There are seven drop-off locations: City Hall, the Leon Mathieu Senior Center, Pawtucket Public Library, the Empowerment Factory, and three Pawtucket Fire Stations at 375 Cottage St., 385 Newport Ave, and 301 Smithfield Ave.

In addition, the Pawtucket Youth Council will be decorating a vehicle to participate in the Slater Park’s Trunk or Treat, with each item being donated going towards the Homeless Assistance Drive.

“I tried to cover as much area as possible,” Bonollo said. “This is the maiden voyage.”

People can either put the donations in bins or bring them to the Slater Park office. Donations received will be distributed during November’s Homeless Awareness Month.

A few of Bonollo’s acquaintances were talking about a project to do and she suggested helping the homeless. Everyone agreed to run with it, Bonollo said.

“It became an idea in September so I figured I would distribute the donations in November, and then that would give me October to collect donations,” she said.

Bonollo said she has no idea how many donations to expect because of this being their first such drive, but she is hoping for it to be successful.

She said she would like to see this first drive be successful and then grow it in the future.

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