Andrea Smith founded Help the Homeless RI in 2015, and it became a 501(c)3 in 2016. Smith runs the all-volunteer agency that feeds people in three different communities and works diligently with a local case manager and outreach workers to secure housing, funds and items for those in need. Through donations and fundraisers, they continue to grow each year, which has become a major relief to those struggling the most.
Smith is the president and executive director of the organization. She takes part in home cooking and hand delivering meals and items and setting up a “wish list” of needed items for the people she helps. She even once alerted a family to a nearby and potentially dangerous fire that she saw while delivering goods for them.
“Andrea has a positive effect on the people she helps,” says Scott DeLomba, who nominated her for recognition in this issue. “And despite the never-ending needs and challenges, she remains positive and driven to make a difference.”
Help the Homeless RI provides community meals in Pawtucket, Woonsocket and West Warwick, and works with people in need throughout the state. Smith has helped grow an inclusive community, giving strength and hope to people as well as forming a variety of positive friendships.
“Andrea is able to get people from all different backgrounds to work toward one goal,” DeLomba says. “She is humble. She is brave. She is kind and she is steadfast in her mission to address the needs of the homeless. She also works a full-time job.”
DeLomba admires Smith’s positivity and drive. He feels that she would rather that people focus on the cause of Help the Homeless RI instead of her or the other volunteers helping to run the organization.
“I don’t know the story behind her passion for the homeless,” DeLomba says. “But I know that Rhode Island is a better place because of her.”