Around the Valley: New business grant guidelines, safe Holiday Stroll


Small business grant updates

Lt. Governor Daniel McKee’s office announced this week that the RI on Pause Grant formula has changed, and grants will now be based on gross receipts for the non-restaurant eligible group. Potential recipients must re-apply at

The Restore RI grant now has a deadline of Tuesday, Dec. 8. If you are a new business in a severely impacted industry, you now may qualify. For more details and to apply, visit: 

Read the updated FAQs for both grants to see if your business may now be eligible.

Teen Gift Drive

A Teen Gift Drive for Operation Christmas will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13 at the Woonsocket Train Station at 1 Depot Square in Woonsocket from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The event will offer curbside service, with donors texting  (401) 585-9291 when they arrive with their color and type of car. A volunteer will come out to accept donations. Donors are asked to wear a mask.

All gifts must be new and unwrapped. Anyone who goes in the building will have to fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire, temperature screening, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

The program, now in its third year, will be assisting over 106 teens in Rhode Island and bordering Massachusetts towns. The group has a long waiting list of additional families requesting holiday assistance for their teens, and they are hoping to help out a few more.

Elite ACE’s founder Tara Cruz started helping teens in the community three years ago.

“I am an event organizer of an amazing group of artist, crafters and direct sales reps and small business owners called the Elite ACE’s,” said Cruz, noting that she also runs a community Facebook group. “A mother posted three years ago if anyone knew of organizations that help teens for Christmas, and that is where it came about.”

Cruz noted that teenagers are often left out and not included in holiday assistance programs for families, and often excluded to age restrictions.

“That mother’s post on the Community Page brought me back to a time of desperation for myself,” said Cruz. “I was relocated to Rhode Island as a domestic violence victim. I was pretty much homeless with my son. That Christmas I had nothing to give my son.”

Cruz remembers going to Family Resources for help and receiving two model cars for her son , who was 11 at the time.

“That was all I could give my son for Christmas that year,” she said. “Remembering my struggles of where I was to where I am now made me always want to pay it forward.”

Anyone interested in “adopting” a teen for Christmas can go to the Facebook group. Operation Christmas!! Adopt A Teen!! Pick a teen posted and comment that you would like to “adopt” that teen, and Cruz will send a private message to you and confirm the teen you wish to adopt. Once you complete their list the group will arrange a pickup/ drop off.

The deadline to provide gifts is Sunday, Dec. 13.

Donors can also help out with financial assistance here.

For more information contact Cruz at (401) 585-9291.

Holiday Stroll

The Downtown Woonsocket Collaborative and the Holiday Stroll Committee have announced the 12th annual Woonsocket Main Street Holiday Stroll, which will be held this year for 12 days of the Christmas season starting on Saturday, Dec. 5, until Thursday, Dec. 17.

Due to current state and Department of Health regulations, the group is limited with which activities they can do, but the event will include some fun traditions and new things to help keep the holiday spirit alive this year for the community.

The committee has begun decorating downtown Woonsocket in conjunction with the city’s Public Works Department, and will hold their popular scavenger hunt this year, featuring stops at local businesses and organizations along Main Street. The goal of the annual hunt is to get residents and visitors to shop locally and support small businesses. There will be two grand prizes with a value totaling over $500 each, including $300 of gift cards to local businesses, as well as ten more prizes which will include two $20 gift cards to local businesses and a Christmas
plush toy.

Local participants this year include: Millrace Event Space, Geri’s Bluffing Boutique, Dan’s Martial Arts, New York Lunch, Renaissance Tattoo, BL Beauty, Timeless Antiques and Collectibles, Angels Boutique, The Babe Kave, International Barber Shop, Boost Mobile, Ciro’s Tavern, Chan’s Restaurant, The Art Den, Metro PCS, and Lops Brewing.

Printable maps for the scavenger hunt will be made available here. Maps will also be available in a few locations along the stroll.  Maps must be handed in by the end of the day on Dec. 18.

In addition, there will also be fun contests such as a holiday singing/dancing competition called “Rock’n’Stroll” and an ugly Christmas sweater contest – where it is free to enter for a chance to win cash prizes to spend on your holiday shopping. Grand prize is $100 for the video with three $50 runner up prizes and $50 Grand Prize for the sweater photo with three $25 runner up prizes.

Be sure to monitor the website and Facebook page for the first ever Virtual Woonsocket Main Street Holiday Stroll on December 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. to hear some fun holiday music, a few Christmastime stories, and many other surprises.

The McCarthy Talking Christmas Tree will also be back this year, making his first ever socially distanced appearance. The committee also plans to announce a vehicle parade with Santa and his guests.

During the 12 day Stroll, the committee strongly encourages guests to visit local restaurants that have been severely impacted by the pandemic and need a boost this holiday season. All CDC and Department of Health guidelines apply during the activities, which require wearing masks, social distancing, limits on crowds in businesses, and staying home if you do not feel well.

The 2020 Woonsocket Main Street Holiday Stroll Planning Committee includes Nicole Brien, Adam Brunetti, Sarah Carr, Steve Casey, Jessica Deese, Oscar Hancock, Debra Hunt, Kristi Keith, Tom Keith, Liz Kerrigan, Susan Kirwan, Alex Kithes, Garrett Mancieri, Jeanne Michon, Melissa Murray, Paul Ouellette, Wendy Pires and Hilarie Viens.

If you would like to sponsor the event this year, contact DWC Executive Director Garrett Mancieri at 401-651-1519 or

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every week.

We don’t spam!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here