The Providence Intown Churches Association (PICA) helps the homeless. Serving food is one of their many programs. They also have a Homeless Outreach program and a SSDI Outreach and Recovery program as well. The Executive Director is Diana Burdett. During time spent there, I had the pleasure of meeting Diana. She is very committed to helping as many people as possible.
PICA began when clergy from several inner city churches decided they could better minister if they worked together. In the early years of PICA, it was a leisure and learning program for retired people. As more churches joined in, they expanded the ministry to include the hungry and homeless. Today, there are seven churches in PICA: Grace Episcopal, First Universalist, Mathewson Street, Beneficent, Gloria Dei Lutheran, the First Baptist Church of America and All Saint’s Memorial are the current members.
The Daily Food Pantry serves approximately 5,600 people each month. The Friday evening meal site serves an average of 200 people a sit-down dinner. Nearly 300 people use the Homeless Outreach Service each month.
Liz McGrath has been serving food for over 20 years. Liz works the Friday evening meal site. George Gaffet runs the daily food pantry and 5 days a week clients can choose their own food. Those being helped must have housing, be a Providence resident, have a photo ID and an awards letter.
Ron Watts is the supervisor of the Homeless Outreach program. This is an intensive holistic case management and support program which helps people by getting people on medical into housing, helping clients get SSI and housing ready, providing referrals for payment of bills, employment searches, letters of referral and advocacy for court, housing assistance, medical needs, assistance with employment applications, prescriptions, applying for disability bus passes, and providing help with other types of legal documents.
The basic needs of clothing, toiletries and phone use are part of the Outreach too. Lisa Pisano does a great job as a case manager. Shane O’Brien is a greeter at the door. Richard Jackson is a volunteer Clothing Coordinator.
Nancy Kelley is the supervisor for the SSDI Outreach and Recovery program, which assists homeless people with disabilities in applying for SSI or SSDI. They can even help those who have been denied over 5 years ago to access benefits in less than a year.
Overall, PICA serves about 78,000 people a year. This organization makes it easier to help the homeless. Hopefully, this article will encourage more people to take advantage of their services. PICA is open Monday thru Thursday from 11am until 2pm.