Around the Valley: Caregiver support group, 10,000 chances


Job Lot distributes PPE

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has leveraged its global supply chain to provide hundreds of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to healthcare organizations and municipalities. In continuation of that effort, the foundation is currently distributing more than $1.7 million worth of additional PPE to police and fire departments in the 142 communities where Ocean State Job Lot stores are located across the Northeast. The donations include pallets of PPE including face shields, KN95 masks, antibacterial and disinfecting hand wipes, and hand sanitizer, for a total retail value of $12,000 to each community.

According to a release from the company, since late March 2020, OSJL has acquired and distributed more than $15 million worth of critical supplies needed in the fight against COVID-19, such as gloves, masks, disinfectants, sanitizers, eye protection, and more. Prior to this new round of donations, the Foundation had already handed out more than 1.2 million surgical masks to those on the frontlines, including 4,800 to each police and fire department in the communities in which its stores are located.

In September, the Foundation distributed premium massage chairs, valued at nearly $7,000 each, to hospitals throughout the Northeast to provide healthcare workers with an opportunity to relieve stress. These efforts are reportedly in addition to its many ongoing charitable activities, including OSJL’s ‘Mask Fabric for Free’ campaign, which supplied customers with the fabric necessary to create an estimated 1.8 million homemade cloth face masks.

Caregiver support group

RI Elder Info will be offering a free monthly caregiver support group on the third Friday of every month, starting on Friday, Jan. 15 at 10 a.m.

To register to attend the meeting by phone or Zoom video, email Executive Director Deb Burton at or call (401) 585-0509.

State launches project in response to rise in overdose deaths

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force has announced the launch of Rhode Island’s 10,000 Chances Project, a new initiative aimed at reducing overdose deaths and saving lives. This effort arrives as the national and local drug overdose epidemics continue to accelerate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through partnerships with local, community-based organizations, the project will distribute more than 10,000 kits of the overdose reversal medicine, Narcan, into the hands of Rhode Islanders who are at risk of overdose, and the families and friends of people who are at risk.

During the first eight months of 2020, data from the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Office of the State Medical Examiners tracked 271 accidental drug overdose deaths, compared with 211 during the same time period in 2019. Between these two periods, fatal drug overdoses increased by 28 percent and opioid-involved fatal overdoses increased by 34 percent.

Approved agencies received 500 two-pack intranasal naloxone kits and $5,000 to support strategic distribution efforts. Priority was given to applicants with experience offering services and support to high-risk populations in Rhode Island communities with increased drug overdose activity.

“Anxiety, depression and isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has made the opioid epidemic more deadly. People are turning to potentially lethal substances and often using them by themselves with no one to administer naloxone should they overdose,” said Kathryn Power, Director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals. “Now more than ever, it is important that state and local agencies work together; the fast response on this project highlights the urgency of this epidemic. Everyone who is at-risk, and those that care for them, should have access to naloxone to reverse the effects when an overdose occurs.”

The following Rhode Island community-based organizations each received $5,000 in grant funding and 500 two-pack intranasal naloxone kits for statewide distribution: AIDS Care Ocean State, Amos House, Community Care Alliance, East Bay Community Action Program, Gateway HealthCare Inc., Lifespan/Rhode Island Hospital, Parent Support Network, Pawtucket Housing Authority, Preventing Overdose and Naloxone Intervention in partnership with The Miriam Hospital, Project Weber/RENEW, The Providence Center, Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts, and The University of Rhode Island Community First Responder Program.

Members of the public can request a free naloxone kit, safer drug use supplies, and connection to a certified peer recovery support specialist by visiting Rhode Island’s overdose information website, Supplies can be mailed anywhere in the state at no cost to the recipient. also offers a brief, interactive naloxone training in English and Spanish developed by The University of Rhode Island’s Community First Responder Program. People requesting naloxone are encouraged to take the brief online training module to learn the signs of an overdose and how to respond.

If you or someone you care about is living with a substance use disorder, there is 24/7 treatment and mental health support available over the phone or in person.

-BH Link, Rhode Island’s 24/7 behavioral health hotline, 401-414-LINK (5465), connects callers to trained professionals who can provide confidential counseling, referrals and support services. People can go to BH Link’s drop-in center in-person to get connected to support at 975 Waterman Ave. in East Providence.

Fire stations in East Providence, Providence, Newport, and Woonsocket are “Safe Stations.” They are open every day to help people in crisis get connected to a peer recovery support specialist and treatment and recovery support services.

Hospitality Association welcomes McKee

In reaction to the news of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s nomination to the post of Secretary of Commerce in President-elect Joseph Biden’s administration, the RI Hospitality Association issued a statement from President/CEO Dale Venturini.

“The RI Hospitality Association congratulates Governor Raimondo on her nomination to the post of Secretary of Commerce in President-elect Biden’s administration and know that she is well prepared to face this next challenge head-on. We’re looking forward to working with Governor McKee who has always been a strong advocate for small business, including the hospitality industry, whose owners play a critical role in the state’s economy.”  

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