Providence Canteen seeks donations - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Providence Canteen seeks donations

Providence Canteen seeks donations

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By: Melissa Randall

At fires you'll often see the Providence Canteen. The mobile unit is known for helping emergency officials throughout Southern New England, but recently they've been struggling to stay afloat. Now, the group that helps so many is asking for assistance themselves.

“If you ask any fire department in the state and everybody says the same thing– it's a welcome sight when they pull up,” said Battalion Chief Ken Brousseau of the Central Falls Fire Department.

On Thursday the Canteen was in Central Falls, handing out food, water and coffee to crews who were battling a 3-alarm fire. But volunteers worry about how long they'll be able to continue providing those kinds of services.

“We've gone through a lot of money recently– with truck repairs and insurances. You know we have a big insurance bill due every September,” said Francis Bellotti, a volunteer with the Providence Canteen.

The non–profit is struggling. Yearly costs for the 3 rehab units run about $30,000. Those funds come solely from donations.

“It's just an every day battle to ensure that there is enough money to keep the trucks operating,” said Bellotti.

The Canteen covers a big area. They respond to all of Rhode Island, parts of Massachusetts and even Connecticut. Fire officials say the rehab services are vital to keeping them keep the community and firefighter's safe.

“It's very easy to get dehydrated. We have to send guys to the hospitals with IV's and stuff, but when they show up at least we get the hydration we need,” said Brousseau.

35 members strong, the Providence Canteen continues to answer the calls thanks in part to the generosity of some of their own.

“Members see the difficulties we're facing and have donated money– substantial amounts of money– from their own personal savings,” said Bellotti.

If you would like to help you can visit the Providence Canteen website at:

Or send donations to:

Providence Canteen – SSFA

Post Office Box 25009

Providence, Rhode Island 02905

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