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A wicked meaningful R.I. holiday gift guide

Want to give a gift that helps others? Here are 9 nonprofits and businesses to consider

The Afghan Relief Rhode Island website has been set up to gather funding, furniture, household goods, and volunteer efforts to help Afghan evacuees.Handout

Happy Thursday! I’m Ed Fitzpatrick and I’m here to remind you that gerrymandering is pronounced with a hard “g” because it’s named after former Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry. Follow me on Twitter @FitzProv or send tips to Edward.Fitzpatrick@Globe.com.

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 377.2 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days

Fully vaccinated: 764,626 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 861

Test-positive rate: 4.6 percent

Currently hospitalized: 169

Total deaths: 2,935

More stats from the R.I. Department of Health. Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources. Subscribe to our Coronavirus Next newsletter


Leading off

For years, Rhode Islanders did their holiday shopping at Benny’s, picking up reasonably priced gifts along with some Quaker State motor oil. But with Benny’s closed and the world grappling with a growing list of crises, Rhode Island needs a list of gift ideas that could help make a difference.

As a New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof offered a holiday guide suggesting “gifts with meaning.” But now he’s running for governor of Oregon, and in any case, we can do it even better, with a distinct Rhode Island accent.

Afghan Relief Rhode Island

As of Wednesday, 97 Afghan refugees had arrived in Rhode Island since the Aug. 30 withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, said Julieann Cofone, spokeswoman for Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island. Rhode Islanders have been generous, but new arrivals are expected soon as the state prepares to settle 250 or more Afghans, she said. To donate funds, furniture, households essentials, or to volunteer, go here.

Foster Forward

The East Providence nonprofit has collected 2,850 pairs of pajamas for children and youth in foster care, with donations from elected officials such as Senator Alana DiMario, Representative Julie Casimiro, Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins, Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi, and East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva. Drop off PJs at Foster Forward offices before Dec. 8 or donate here.


Garden Time

The Providence nonprofit prepares incarcerated people for the workforce, equipping them with the skills, self-confidence, and support they need to transition to long-term employment and a productive life. Donate here.

Jessica David, a former Rhode Island Foundation executive who is now president of a nonprofit called Local Return, added to our list. There are a lot of people hurting this year,” David said. “The holidays are a really good time to remember that every dollar we spend has an impact, and we can use our personal gift budgets for the good of the community.”

Beautiful Day

This Providence nonprofit is a gourmet granola company with a mission to help refugees enter the job market. They sell coffee, granola, and granola bars. Go here.

Nourish Our Neighbors

Through Nourish Our Neighbors, Hope & Main is providing healthy, fresh meals to neighbors in need and supporting local food businesses. When you purchase a “buy one/give one” single-serving meal, you donate another meal to a senior. Go here.

Clínica Esperanza

Since 2010, this clinic has served more than 10,000 patients, 80 percent of whom are Spanish-speaking. It provides culturally attuned medical care to uninsured adults living in Rhode Island. Go here.

Providence College professor Eric Hirsch, an advocate for the state’s homeless population since 1990, offered these suggestions:

House of Hope


This community development corporation oversees the PATH Street Outreach program and is trying to develop the Emergency COVID Housing Opportunities (ECHO) Village, which would provide tiny homes for up to 60 unsheltered people. Go here.

Help the Homeless RI

This group of concerned citizens use social media to collect and distribute items to help homeless people, and provides meals in underserved areas, such as West Warwick and Pawtucket. Go here.

Amos House

The Providence nonprofit runs the state’s largest soup kitchen while providing shelter and housing, job training and education. Go here.

”The people in greatest need are the people living outside,” Hirsch said. “Donations to any of these organizations would help keep a roof over their heads. I don’t think there’s anything more important you could do during the holiday season.”

The Globe in Rhode Island

🎤 On the Rhode Island Report podcast, Community College of Rhode Island President Meghan Hughes tells Dan McGowan that Rhode Island is still working to a build a “seamless transfer pathway” between the state’s three public colleges. Read more.

⚓ My colleague Amanda Milkovits reports that the lawyer for former student-athletes accusing North Kingstown coach Aaron Thomas of conducting naked body-fat tests on them has served subpoenas against the school department and Thomas for a range of records. Read more.

Brian Amaral writes that all the staff at the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital are now vaccinated, two months after the mandate went into effect. Read more.

Alexa Gagosz has a story about how the McKee administration’s Housing Resources Commission has approved nearly $31 million for 23 affordable housing projects. Read more.


⚓ In a Globe Rhode Island commentary piece, Representative Brandon Potter, a Cranston Democrat, calls for using CARES Act money to recruit, retain, and stabilize the direct care provider workforce so children with developmental delays don’t lose ground. Read more.

Carlos Muñoz has compiled a list of things to do in Rhode Island in December, including “A Christmas Carol” at Trinity Rep and the Scituate Village Candlelight Stroll. Read more.

Here’s more Globe Rhode Island coverage.

Also in the Globe

Maura Healey? Martin Walsh? Now that Charlie Baker has announced he won’t seek re-election, who might run for governor of Massachusetts? Read more.

Alex Speier reports the Boston Red Sox traded Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a pair of prospects, and Milton’s Rich Hill is returning to bolster the rotation. Read more.

Jess Bidgood reports that when it comes to the Omicron variant, global health experts are making one thing clear: They saw this coming. Read more.

Our journalism relies on support from readers like you. Please help us continue our mission with a subscription to the Globe. Here’s a special deal for Rhode Island.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

Birthdays: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.


⚓ At 2:15 p.m., US Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm will join Governor Daniel J. McKee in Providence to tour a new regional offshore wind manufacturing hub under construction by Ørsted and Eversource.

⚓ At 1:15 p.m., the special legislative commission to study the Rhode Island Low and Moderate Income Housing Act will meet in the House lounge to discuss community planning.

⚓ At 5 p.m., Governor McKee and the First Family host the annual State House holiday celebration and tree lighting on the south lawn of the State House.

⚓ At 6 p.m., the state redistricting commission will meet in State House Room 35 to see initial new maps for House and Senate districts.

Dan’s previous column

Dan McGowan asked the six Democratic candidates for governor to offer some advice to President Joe Biden. They mostly talked about themselves. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of Dan’s columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

Rhode Island Report podcast

Dan McGowan talks to CCRI President Meghan Hughes about her new role as president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce board. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to Edward.Fitzpatrick@Globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @FitzProv. See you on Friday.

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Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him @FitzProv.