Lorie Dubee’s involvement with her local food pantry started as a family affair.
“I wanted to get my sons involved with volunteering in the community,” said the personal lines account manager for Woodmansee Insurance in Wyoming, Rhode Island.
Then, one year during the Christmas season, she got her company involved with the Rhode Island Center Assisting those in Need (RI-CAN).
“Instead of employees giving gifts to each other, we adopted two families and supplied them with wonderful gifts for the holiday,” she said. “That started a new trend.”
The Woodmansee staff gathers around what ended up being only a fifth of their total collection efforts for the RI-CAN Holiday Teen Workshop. From L-R: Teresa Ellis, Lorie Dubee, David Woodmansee, Kathy Foster, Gina Sottile and Scott Gagnon.
Today, the vast majority of Woodmansee’s 16 employees are supporters of RI-CAN, according to Teresa Ellis, agency operations manager for the company. They participate in food drives, work in the food pantry, help in RI-CAN’s thrift shop, and support fundraising events. In addition, when they noticed that donated holiday gifts are often intended for younger kids, they created a “Teen Gift Table” in order to make sure older children aren’t left out.
Those efforts all help further RI-CAN’s mission — providing emergency food, clothing, and other vital assistance to neighbors in crisis throughout the state.
The annual Polar Plunge event ‘Freezing for a Reason’ brought the Woodmansee Insurance staff out to the beach and into the waves to support RI-CAN.
“The need is always strong,” said Catherine Fox, president of the board for RI-CAN. “In 2016, we distributed 312,400 pounds of food, the equivalent of 249,952 meals.”
Founded in 2001, RI-CAN also operates a Clothing Loft that provides clothes and personal care items to those in need, along with furniture and household necessities such as pots and pans, blankets, towels, and more.
The organization serves people from all walks of life, including veterans, the homeless, young families with children, and the elderly — anyone that is struggling with basic needs. “Food insecurity is a major problem everywhere,” said Dubee, who serves as vice president of the RI-CAN board. “It is an honor to help these local families.”
Woodmansee Insurance gets creative with their Friday dress down day by asking staff to bring personal care items for RI-CAN. From L-R: Teresa Ellis, David Woodmansee, Linda Stabile, Fran Gilman, Lorie Dubee and Gloria Rhodes.
It’s also an honor to have such a dedicated crew of volunteers, Fox said. “We are so grateful for the support of Lorie, Teresa, Sandy Chartier, and the Woodmansee team. They’re an amazing resource in helping us to fulfill our mission.”
A 2017 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award will help, too. The award comes with up to a $10,000 donation to RI-CAN from Safeco on behalf of Woodmansee Insurance.
“This money will allow us to purchase more food and provide better proteins on a regular basis,” Fox said. “It truly will make a difference for many people in our community.”
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