Community Action Partnership of Providence County’s Finance Director, Dale Halburian, is no stranger to service. Dale has worked with non-profits for over 30 years and he is also a long-time volunteer at the food pantry operated by his church. He said he was struck by the number of people he saw standing in line waiting for their weekly distribution of food. He contacted the volunteer organizer and offered his help; a year later, he became the church pantry’s treasurer.

Just as CAPP’s food pantry had to adapt operations to health and safety guidelines during the pandemic, Dale’s church pantry faced similar issues. “[The church food pantry] had to close temporarily per lockdown requirements and figure out to distribute food in a non-contact socially distant environment,” he said. [1]

Undeniably one of our most important programs at CAPP is the food pantry. Residents experiencing food insecurity have come to depend on CAPP for staple non-perishables. Our satellite facility on Broad Street was serving over 700 families every month before the pandemic. Between March and July, that number leapt up to over 1,000 families each month and continues to grow. This can be directly linked to the rising unemployment rate in the state; which increased by 7% in the same period of time.[2] In a 2020 state-wide survey conducted by the RI Community Food Bank it was discovered that concerns about having adequate food effected 25% of households.[3]

This increase in need meant an increase in effort on all staff. Senior leadership at CAPP mobilized to meet the challenge. Dale has been with CAPP for three years and was among the senior staff who pivoted from their normal duties to keep the food pantry open. He would spend Wednesdays working with others unloading the delivery truck and helping to organize inventory as it came in. Like all the leadership team at CAPP, Dale took his turn rolling up his sleeves to serve our community.

It is easy to see the division, distance, separation, and isolation that coincided with the coronavirus pandemic but one only needs to look a little closer to find the Helpers. There are multiple opportunities to volunteer time and money to agencies like CAPP who look after the most vulnerable amongst us. “This opportunity to work alongside my fellow CAPP employees and to really be part of the operation was extremely rewarding and meaningful to me. It is a privilege to be able to experience this and I am happy to be able to continue my support in every way I can whether it be behind the scenes again here at CAPP or on the front line at the church,” Dale said.[4]

These are uncertain times but one thing remains constant: CAPP will continue to lead with dignity and serve with purpose when we’re needed the most.

[1] Testimonial, February 19, 2021
[2] RI Community Food Bank, 2020 Status Report on Hunger in RI https://2cyg1u24pr903unzk92wub...
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid