When I retired from my corporate career, I decided that I must find a way to give back. I went on a search for where I could be of value. It took me a while to find the right fit. However, finally, I found the place right in my hometown community of Barrington RI. I found TAPIN – Touch A Person In Need.
The History of TAPIN
TAPIN was founded in 1983 by 5 ladies in Barrington to provide referral and information services for those in need of assistance and who had no idea where to get help. They started out with a phone and small desk. As they started to provide services, they soon realized that the residents of East Bay Rhode Island needed much more.
Today TAPIN services all the communities of the East Bay Rhode Island and provides food, children’s clothing, toys, and household goods. Rides to and from medical appointments are provided for those who don’t have transportation. We are housed in the lower level of the Barrington Public library and we’re open weekday mornings. Every month TAPIN serves on average 12o0 neighbors in need.
TAPIN’s Major Programs
This is TAPIN’s busiest time of the year. Right now we’re registering 400 families for the Thanksgiving Program. Once registered, the clients come back on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and are given a basket full of food for their Thanksgiving meal including a gift card to purchase a turkey. Once Thanksgiving is over, we start registering clients for the Holiday program which provides for along with toys for the children and gift cards for the adults. This distribution takes place on the Saturday prior to Christmas.
Our donors are the wonderful residents, schools, organizations, and businesses of our local communities. They donate money, food, used/new children’s clothing, toys, furniture, and household goods. Have your children outgrown their clothes? Are you de-cluttering your home? Donate to TAPIN! Are you at the supermarket? Why not buy an extra jar of peanut butter and donate it. Or, if you are strapped for time, just click this button to donate!
A huge supporter of TAPIN’s is our local supermarket Shaw’s. They work with us to sponsor various food drives like this one last year where the community donated over 3600 lbs and $700 cash.
If you’re shopping at Shaw’s, you can just add on an extra box of cereal in your basket and after you pay for your items just place the jar in the TAPIN bin by the exit door. Simple!
The other day I was at TAPIN and that morning a young gal came in with this donation. TAPIN was so appreciative!
TAPIN’s Greatest Asset
Do you know what TAPIN’s greatest asset is? It’s the more than 150 volunteers. Two of the original TAPIN founders still work in the office every single week giving of their time. They’ve been doing this for 33 years. In fact, TAPIN is the only non-profit in Rhode Island that has an all volunteer staff. I find that pretty amazing.
Volunteers come for all walks of life – retirees, moms, school groups, business teams, postal workers – anyone who wants to give of their time to help others. It doesn’t matter that you only have an hour to give once in a while – TAPIN will match your available time and your talents with the needs. Volunteers greet clients, hand out food, work on the computer, pick up food from the food bank, write grants, provide their leadership skills. Right now we desperately need volunteer drivers! If you love to drive and want to help others, please consider becoming a volunteer driver. See more at the end of this post.
What TAPIN Has Given to Me
I am so thankful that I have found TAPIN. I work with some of the most dedicated volunteers who give so much of their time to their neighbors in need. Honestly, for some of the volunteers it is almost a full-time job – and they have been doing this for years!
In TAPIN, I have found a community where my talents are needed and appreciated. I feel very fortunate to have landed here. Just to work with people who are passionate about what they do, who follow-up with answers when you have questions, and who profusely thank you and give you recognition for your work is truly wonderful. I look at it like the perfect job I always searched for. Ok, maybe there is some drama once in a while but that is what makes it so REAL and WONDERFUL!!
I highly recommend volunteering in your local community. Churchill was definitely right when he said
You make a life by what you give.