06 Dec 2022

Federal Hill House: Building a Deep Connection with Those we Serve

Josh Pereira


It is close to 10:30 a.m. on a warm September day and the line is growing by the minute outside the building, located on Federal Hill in Providence. Among those waiting in line is a young woman rocking an infant in her arms, several elderly women chatting away in Spanish and a few middle-aged men carrying empty boxes and bags. All are waiting patiently for their turn to enter the Federal Hill House (FHH) food pantry. Once inside, they will be welcomed by a friendly face; they’ll sign in, then fill their bags with canned goods, fresh produce, dairy and meat to supplement their limited resources. The scene is repeated at a second FHH food pantry location in Olneyville, the third largest food pantry in the state.

Across the street from the food pantry is another building, also bustling with activity. There’s an area filled with toddlers playing in the warm sun, and nearby other youngsters are gearing up for a healthy lunch. Steps away is a room filled with senior citizens engaging in conversation and activities, and infants down the hallway being cared for while their parents’ work.

At the center of it all is the Federal Hill House staff – nearly 60 strong – who work tirelessly to provide more than a dozen programs, resources and critical services that support and strengthen Providence’s most vulnerable BIPOC communities at every stage of life- from infants to aging adults.

Federal Hill House impacts hundreds of lives each day, offering important services including parental support; quality childcare; education and enrichment opportunities for children; positive role models and skill-building opportunities for teens; access to healthy food to eat; help with tax returns; and opportunities for engagement for seniors.

In 2021, the organization served over 7,700 community members, created 132 internships and service-learning opportunities for teens, enrolled 530 children into programs, provided healthy food to more than 5,700 people, offered services to 100 seniors, and helped nearly 850 individuals with free tax preparation.

“We have deep relationships with those we serve and are working to build our capacity to meet the needs of FHH participants across generations. We’re doing this through program integration, partnership, and connection to resources,” she said.

Funding from the Papitto Opportunity Connection has allowed Federal Hill House to expand its programs and services and grow its staff to help track the organization’s impact, develop resources, and share its message with the community.
“The funding from POC allows us to continue to not only develop and grow our programs but track their impact so that we can build a deeper connection with the people and community we are already serving,” said Fernandez. “We want to help as many people as we can at every stage of their lives.”

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