Cranston Chatter

Posted 1/6/21

By MERI R. KENNEDY Cranston partners with Tree-Plenish As of the week of Dec. 7, Tree-Plenish has partnered with over 85 schools and communities, including Cranston, to help build sustainable communities through youth engagement. The group plans to plant

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Cranston Chatter


Cranston partners with Tree-Plenish

As of the week of Dec. 7, Tree-Plenish has partnered with over 85 schools and communities, including Cranston, to help build sustainable communities through youth engagement. The group plans to plant 300 trees on April 24, 2021, to offset the schools’ paper usage during one academic year.

Tree-Plenish mentors students through a step-by-step process to achieve their ultimate goal – hosting their own tree-planting event. With the help of Tree-Plenish, students calculate their school’s paper usage. In order to reach their goal number of trees, students rely on residents of the community to request trees to be planted by volunteers in their yard.

Tree-Plenish is led by 15-year-old Kalliana Marek, who is part of several environmental groups in Rhode Island including the Sunrise Movement and the RI Citizens Climate Library. She may be reached at or through

Throughout the winter and early spring, students and schools will plan their tree-planting events. Students started in December to market their event to the community, with the goal of getting residents to request a tree to be planted in their yard on the day of the event. This tree request process continues until about one month before the event is to take place to allow time for the trees to be ordered and delivered. Students also reach out to their community to recruit volunteers to help plant trees on the day of the event.

These events are a perfect opportunity for members of the community to stay connected and involved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tree-Plenish has created specific guidelines to protect both the residents of the community as well as the volunteers for the event.

Residents of the community are able to help support the event starting now. They can request a tree to be planted in their yard or sign up to volunteer to plant trees on the day of the event. The more homeowners that request trees, the faster the students are able to reach their goals. If homeowners are unable to request a tree or volunteer their time, they can also make a monetary contribution on the Tree-Plenish website.

Catalina, the public relations lead at Tree-Plenish, explains why she joined the Tree-Plenish team: “Throughout my high school career, I noticed the excessive amount of paper teachers, students, and administrators used. As a youth passionate about affecting change, I thought there must be a way we could give back to the community the resources we had taken. Tree-Plenish does this by empowering the youth in each community to stand up and make a difference.”

Tree-Plenish is a student-led nonprofit organization striving to build sustainable communities through youth engagement. Together with students in Cranston, Tree-Plenish hopes to drive Cranston towards a sustainable future.

Financial Aid Workshop through library

The Cranston Public Library will present a Financial Aid Workshop, in partnership with Roger Williams University, for anyone starting or returning to college. Adult learners, teens, and their parents are invited to join this conversation about the ins and outs of financial aid, eligibility, and deadlines.

This session simultaneously will be offered in both English and Spanish and will include a Q&A session. It begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

This program is free and open to the public. Registration is required at The event link will be emailed the day before the program.

This event is part of CPL’s College and Career Readiness series in partnership with Roger Williams University and its University College Career Pathway Specialist.

Need help with your mortgage?

RI Housing’s Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island (HHFRI) program is offering zero-interest, forgivable loans to eligible Rhode Island homeowners who became unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to make their mortgage payments. Loan proceeds may provide eligible homeowners with up to six months of mortgage payment assistance and a mortgage will be recorded on the homeowner’s property.

Learn more about the loan program and eligibility at

At the Cranston Library/Barrington Books Retold

Cranston Public Library is thrilled to partner with Barrington Books Retold to bring authors to patrons for readings, conversations, and programs. All events are virtual until further notice. Books are available through Ocean State Libraries. Contact Barrington Books Retold at 401-432-7222 to order copies for purchase.

The first event will be on Saturday, Jan. 9, from 3 to 4 p.m. on Zoom and will feature visiting author Dr. Michael Fine reading from his book, “The Bull and Other Stories.” The author will give a talk and a reading and take questions from the audience.

Fine is a writer, community organizer, family physician, public health official, and author of “Health Care Revolt: How to Organize, Build a Health Care System, and Resuscitate Democracy – All at the Same Time” and “Abundance,” a romantic thriller set in Rhode Island and in Liberia in the aftermath of the Liberian Civil Wars of 1989-2020.

Fine's new book, “The Bull and Other Stories,” tells 10 stories about people all across the country who struggle, survive and see their world through lost hopes, inappropriate loves and irrational dreams.

These events are free and open to the public. Registration is required. Please contact the library for assistance at 401-943-9080, ext. 3, or email Zoom details will be emailed the day before the event.

CCAP Portal now available

Need a hand with your rent or utilities? CCAP’s new Online Application Portal can help.

As part of its continuous effort to provide the best possible service, CCAP is pleased to announce the launch of the new application platform at

With a goal of expanding access to CCAP’s social services programs, the application portal will improve clients’ access to up-to-date housing and utility assistance program information and allow clients to upload documents and electronically sign applications.

For questions about the new portal, email or call 401-467-7013.

Four decades at CCAP

Congratulations to CCAP President and CEO Joanne McGunagle, who is celebrating 41 years with the organization. Today CCAP is one of Rhode Island’s largest organizations dedicated solely to fighting the war on poverty, with over 350 employees and more than 90 programs supporting over 28,000 families.

Activities at the Cranston Enrichment Center

Limited activities will be resuming at the Cranston Enrichment Center on the following dates:

Billiards, Monday, Jan. 4; Exercise Made Easy, Wednesday, Jan. 13; Line Dancing, Wednesday, Jan. 13; and Exercise Made Easy, Friday, Jan. 15.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please contact Kathi in the Programs Office at 780-6216.

CCAP Emergency Housing Assistance

The Comprehensive Community Action Program’s Emergency Housing Assistance program assists individuals/families living in Cranston, Coventry, Scituate and Foster with back rent, security deposits, mortgage assistance, late fees associated with back rent or mortgage, moving costs and utilities. Funding is limited. For more information, call CCAP at 467-7013 or visit

Neighbors helping neighbors

Kevin and Barbara Dwares of Cranston are still in search of much needed items to help others.

They are not collecting clothing or household items, but are still seeking more items that are needed for donation. Thank you to everyone who has supported this cause.

McAuley House is in need of canned goods like canned vegetables, apple sauce, canned fruit, powdered milk, coffee, tea, corn, tuna (all shelf stable). The Dwareses are collecting shelf0stable snacks like granola bars, peanut butter cookies, raisins, pasta, tuna, crackers, bread and more to help those in need. Hand warmers are also needed during this time to be handed out by Help the Homeless RI.

McAuley House also is need of new packaged underwear, socks and T-shirts for adults and children.

Also needed are new or gently used hats, gloves, and scarves for adults or kids.

McAuley House is also desperately in need of full-sized toiletry items – shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, powder, shaving cream, hair brushes etc.

Please drop items off at the Dwares’ home at 46 Balsam Court in Cranston’s Garden City neighborhood. Please put them in the plastic container located near the breezeway. If bins are full please leave the donations in plastic bags (in case of rain) under one of the awnings at front or side door. The bin will be outside every day all week.

Zoom-ba program

The MS Dream Center will offer a virtual Chair Zoom-ba Program sponsored by Maguire Disability Law, with the class being instructed by Michelle Calise.

Classes will be offered nationally on Mondays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. for people with MS and their loved ones. There is no fee to participate and classes can accommodate up to 100 on a first come, first serve basis.

Please contact Anne at to register for the classes and to complete a signed liability waiver, which is required of all participants.

The MS Dream Center provides a dedicated resource and support facility in which people living with multiple sclerosis, and their care partners, may engage in a wide variety of interactive social and educational activities, workshops and therapies. The MS Dream Center’s goal is to bring awareness to the disease and reach out to those living with it, empowering them and offering important respite opportunities for care partners.

Troop 22 looking for Scouts

Boy Scout Troop 22 Cranston is looking for new Scouts. Following all the BSA and state of Rhode Island safety protocols, the troop is meeting, hiking and camping. It has a full schedule of activities planned for the 2020-21 program year. Troop 22 is affiliated with girls’ Troop 13-G, which is also looking for new members. Both units meet at the Edgewood Congregational Church, 1788 Broad St., at 7 p.m. on most Thursdays.

The program is for youth ages 11 to 18. For younger children, Troop 22 also has a relationship with Cub Scout Pack 2 Cranston. Anyone interested is invited to call Paul Kelley at 401-595-6726 for more information.

Mindful Mondays

Mindful Monday is a weekly drop-in meditation group open to all teens 13 to 18 years old. Brief meditations are facilitated by CCAP’s Community Response Program team members. The program will be held on Mondays, on Zoom, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Jennifer Pelkey at or 318-2555.

Did you know?

The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who is the god of beginning and transitions or often called the god of doorways. Having two faces, he watches over the past as well as the future. (Source: January Fun Facts)

To submit your news from the community, email Meri R. Kennedy at Photos in jpg format are accepted and news can include community events, promotions, academic news and nonprofit events. Email today and see your news in our column in the Cranston Herald.

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