CAPP, working in partnership with the community, provides culturally competent supportive services and programs to Providence County residents in need to promote their achievement of economic self-sufficiency.
This is not just our Mission Statement. This is our goal and what we strive for every day we come into work. CAPP employees have memorized these words and live by them. We have a true passion for improving the lives of our residents. This is a look inside what we have been working on and what is coming up in 2021!
What a year 2020 was...
In 2020 so many of our residents lost income and employment while navigating distance learning with their kids. Businesses struggled, some closed. Agencies across the state operated in crisis mode for long stretches of the year. Community Action Partnership of Providence County (CAPP) was no different and had to pivot and adapt to a global pandemic. Our residents came to us seeking help when they were already in distress. CAPP was uniquely positioned with skilled staff to provide seamless connections to critical services.
Service Spotlight
CAPP ran a comprehensive COVID-19 Basic Needs Assessment in late October of 2020. We, mailed our 3,000 surveys to low income residents in Providence, and we got back an astounding 1,543 responses. The purpose of the survey was to uncover any gaps in services and to hear directly from residents as to what they needed in these troubling times during the pandemic. Many of these residents are unemployed because of childcare issues due to the pandemic. Those respondents who are caring for household members over the age of 55 said they needed help with food and basic needs. Close to 1,200 respondents said they wanted more information about CAPP’s Energy Saving Programs. The results of this survey were eye-opening, and we will use the data gathered to guide the development of future programs to ensure that we remain at the forefront of the war on poverty - providing our residents with what they need when they need it.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) department received utility assistance applications for over 5,700 households since July, and over 1,000 have already been processed where residents received their oil deliveries by early winter. Additionally, over 222 other households have qualified for the Good Neighbor Energy Fund through CAPP. These funds are administered through RI Community Action Agencies throughout the state to help people pay their utility bills.

Residents with children were among the hardest hit by the pandemic. CAPP, through our partnership with Project Undercover, was able to provide over 11,000 diapers to new parents in need. CAPP provided $10,000 in basic needs funding as well, paying for other items such as baby formula and food, wipes, clothes, socks and undergarments for children under two years old and younger. We also helped families navigate getting onto benefit programs like SNAP and WIC.
Food insecurity is an ongoing problem for the residents we serve and the problem worsened in the face of COVID-19. Residents with already limited income experienced the effects of job loss, reduction of hours and the residual effects of kids being out of school that need to be fed each day. CAPP runs the largest privately operated community food pantry in Providence and had been helping around 750 residents of the 02905 and 02907 zip codes per month before the pandemic. This number leapt up to well over 1,000 per month in July, with an average of 15 new households signing up each week.
CAPP’s senior population used to be able to rely on hot meals and camaraderie two times per week before COVID-19 struck. As these gatherings were deemed unsafe during the pandemic, seniors everywhere were pushed into their homes. Many of them have been living their lives in isolation for almost a year now. CAPP staff created a completely new meal delivery program practically overnight. Currently, our seniors are receiving a full week’s worth of pre-made lunches and dinners; delivered to their homes by our staff. CAPP delivers 1,960 meals a month completely free of charge to our seniors in need of food.
When our senior residents began telling us that the only regular social contact they had was with our staff when they delivered meals, the problem of isolation and depression associated with the loss of community became terribly clear. As a result, all of these senior residents have now received tablets and hotspots from CAPP along with training on how to use social connection platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Zoom. We are bridging the digital divide and allowing them to be connected to family, friends and neighbors. We can’t replace the comfort of in-person contact with loved ones, but we are grateful to leverage our funding into this program with a generous telecom grant from Verizon - a valued community partner - along with the State Office of Healthy Aging.
Known for being a one-stop social service agency, residents are looking to us more than ever. For the first time, CAPP supplied residents, their children, and homeless individuals with clothing or gift cards to local stores for coats, hats and gloves. CAPP has committed over $10,000 to address  winter clothing needs for these individuals ranging from school aged children to families and residents experiencing homelessness.
CAPP addressed problems among undocumented and blended families in Providence this year. CAPP secured a donor gift in the amount of $50,000, dedicated to providing services to this underserved population. Our Special Projects staff has approved residents to receive Basic Needs gift cards in the total amount of $54,417 between July and December 2020. These gift cards for food, medicine and other basic needs support are intended to ease the financial burden COVID-19 has inflicted upon members of the community who will not receive funds from other sources because they are undocumented or that have a family member that does not yet have legal status.
During this reporting period, CAPP leveraged funding to support 92 residents with rental/mortgage assistance. One resident who came to CAPP for assistance found herself behind on rent due to a mandatory 2-week quarantine after a viral exposure. She is an hourly worker at Dunkin Donuts and depends on tips to make ends meet. Her story exemplifies why agencies like CAPP are necessary. She suffered a temporary setback that had a massive impact on her income.
Without assistance from CAPP, she may have lost the home she lives in with her four year old daughter. With the assistance of her landlord, getting all of the required documentation in on time, and prompt service from CAPP, this resident avoided eviction. She has enrolled in the 2021 Energy Savings program and will participate in the Financial Literacy cohort beginning in January 2021.
A new Financial Literacy program run by CAPP’s Education and Job Development department has been getting rave reviews. Students in the 15-person cohort came to CAPP seeking information about how to better manage their own finances while working towards home ownership. They’ve learned about budgeting, paying down credit card debt, saving for emergencies, fixing low credit scores, and some have even begun investing. Latarsha James, a full-time caregiver at a nursing home said she couldn’t wait to pass on what she learned in the class to her daughter so she could make good financial decisions, avoiding mistakes. “I have a clearer vision of how to save money and manage my finances,” she said. With a new tax season approaching, CAPP is getting ready to resume its role as a registered Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site. Residents whose income meets the standards set by the IRS are able to benefit from a free tax return prepared by CAPP volunteers. Volunteers must complete an extensive training program in order to work with us and often they return season after season. Residents can rely on our highly trained and IRS certified volunteers knowing that they will receive the best service and highest possible return. In addition to an free, expertly prepared tax return, each resident who receives VITA services will be encouraged to participate in a future cohort on financial literacy.
Starting on January 25, 2021, our organization will be known as Community Action Partnership of Providence County.
The name change is subtle – but adding “County” to our moniker is huge for the organization and the 33,000 people it serves. This name change better reflects the impact CAPP is making throughout Providence County and recognizes that CAPP has operated successful state-wide programs during its 8-year history. Community Action Partnership of Providence County is expanding programs, hiring new staff, and serving even more of those in greatest need amongst us in the state. Our focus will continue to be the City of Providence which has the highest poverty index in the state. At this time, not all our services will be available outside the City of Providence, but we are    providing important programs and services to other municipalities in Providence County that have requested our programs and services.
 For the past eight years, residents of the capital city in need have gone to Community Action Partnership of Providence for heating assistance, weatherization, no-cost tax preparation, educational programming, and many other services. The administrative offices at 518 Hartford Avenue have remained bustling even throughout COVID-19. Residents utilizing our services have also been going to our expanded satellite location on Broad Street. This renovated second site is home to the largest community food pantry in Providence, serving over 1000 individuals and families per month at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. CAPP has stepped up time and time again for the Providence community.
Find out how you can join us in the work we do bettering the lives of Providence County Residents