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Make a Difference: Jonnycake Center

Who: Parents Melissa and Nate; their 16-year-old son, Eric; and Melissa's 73-year-old mother, Nadine

The agency: Jonnycake Center of Westerly

The situation: With Melissa's hours reduced, Nate furloughed and Nadine out of the workforce, this family was hit hard by the pandemic in 2020, and it became more challenging to afford their mortgage and food. Melissa asked for help from the center, which signed up the family for its on-site food pantry and provided vouchers for items from the center's thrift store. The family received financial assistance to purchase everything for their Thanksgiving and holiday dinners, plus presents for Eric. The social services office also introduced Nadine to Westerly Village, a community effort that engages local seniors.

What to give: The center needs financial donations the most. The pantry can purchase up to 10 pounds of food for every dollar donated, and the social services office provides emergency assistance for rent, utilities, medical bills and more. The center also welcomes clothes and household donations to the thrift store — whose sale proceeds make up about 50% of the organization's budget — and nonperishable food donations for the pantry.

To donate: Visit jonnycake.org/donate-2, call (401) 377-8069, visit the center during operating hours at 23 Industrial Drive in Westerly, R.I., or mail a check to the same address.

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