City Prepares Ahead of Winter Storm, First-of-its-kind Emergency Food Program Available at Recreation Centers
PROVIDENCE, RI – Due to winter storm conditions Providence Public Schools and afterschool activities are canceled for Monday, March 4. There will also be a citywide parking ban beginning at 12:01AM (3/4), which will remain in effect until further notice. Tomorrow’s community meeting regarding Providence Water will be postponed due to weather, a new date and time will be announced.
Due to school cancelation, four Providence Recreation Centers will be open and offering meals for Providence youth. This past fall Mayor Elorza’s Office, the Healthy Communities Office and the Department of Recreation partnered with provider Sodexo to create the Emergency Food for Providence Youth Program in anticipation of Providence’s first snow day. This is a first-of-its-kind pilot initiative in Rhode Island and was designed to provide healthy, safe, and adequate food to Providence students most in need during unanticipated school closures.
Currently, Rhode Island has the highest rate of food insecurity in New England. Additionally, close to 90% of Providence Public Schools students are eligible for free and reduced lunches based on household income. For many, school meals may be their only regular food of the day. Unanticipated school closures, either at the beginning or ending of a week, can be more problematic leaving children without secure access to food for days at a time.
Studies highlight the detrimental impact of missed meals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, children who miss school breakfast and lunch are more likely to be sick, absent or tardy, disruptive in class, and inattentive. These students also tend to score lower on achievement tests.
To address this issue, the City will offer a free meal service at select recreation centers for youth 18 years old and under, once it is deemed safe for residents and staff to travel. The Department of Public Works has devised a strategic plan to service roadways that will maximize access to recreation visitors during inclement weather conditions. Centers participating in the pilot were strategically selected for geographic diversity and to best serve families in communities most in need. They include:
109 Bucklin St. Providence, RI 02907
Phone: 401-680-7364 and 7365
438 Hope St. Providence RI 20906
Phone: 401-680-7362 and 7363
60 Camden Ave., Providence RI 02908
Phone: 401-680-7358 and 7359
227 Dudley St. Providence, RI 02907
Phone: 401-680-7350 and 7351
The Recreation Centers will be open from 3:00 PM-9:00 PM on Monday, March 4th. All other Providence Recreation Centers will be closed and regularly scheduled programmed is cancelled.
The decision to open the meal sites, as well as hours of operation, has been integrated into the City of Providence’s Emergency Advisory Board conferences, to allow for the earliest notification possible for families before an unanticipated school closure. The Emergency Advisory Board is the core of the City’s emergency response system and the decision making body during a major incident or crisis. The group is responsible for determining school closures or delays and parking bans among other decisions.
In addition to the new Emergency Food for Providence Youth Program, the City announced that garbage and recycling pickup in Providence will be delayed one day and operate on a holiday schedule.
Residents with overnight parking passes are advised that they cannot park on the street during the duration of the citywide parking ban. All vehicles parked on the street in violation of the citywide parking ban will be ticketed and towed to ensure that roadways can be plowed.
The Department of Public Works has prepared all equipment and personnel to respond to the storm. Roadways will be pretreated ahead of the expected snowfall.
To report a non-emergency issue, download the PVD311 application on the Apple Store or Google Play or call 3-1-1. The Mayor’s Center for City Services will open tomorrow, March 4, at 7:30 AM to assist with snow-related requests.
To receive up-to-the-minute alerts and updates, residents are encouraged to register for the CodeRED emergency notification system by visiting : https://www.providenceri.gov/PEMA/codered
Residents experiencing power outages should contact National Grid at 800-322-3223. Individuals are warned never to touch downed power lines and report downed lines to National Grid. In the event of an emergency, dial 911.