By Jennifer Foster, Adoption Rhode Island
The holiday season was much brighter for children in state foster care because of Stacy Iasimone and the staff, patrons, and friends of The Village restaurant in Providence. It was a full house on December 4 for the third annual Toy Drive and Fundraiser for Adoption Rhode Island. Fabulous hostess Jennie Talia had the enthusiastic crowd laughing, singing, and opening hearts and wallets to donate generously.
In just three years, The Village Toy Drive and Fundraiser has almost tripled the money raised, while the number of toys collected has grown from hundreds to thousands. This year, Stacy launched the toy drive on the Sunday after Thanksgiving with a brunch at The Village that featured BB Hayes, Jacqueline DiMera, and Vilet. The brunch sold out in just 20 minutes. Between the two events more than 2,000 toys were collected and over $7400 was raised to bring holiday joy and year-round hope to hundreds of children and families whose lives are touched by foster care and adoption.
Stacy’s commitment to children, especially the most vulnerable, inspired her choice to support Adoption Rhode Island. The holiday season felt like the perfect time of year to do something for children after learning about the agency’s work from Assistant Director Emily Lyon. Along with all she does to support Adoption Rhode Island, Stacy has also made AIDS Care Ocean State a priority for her fundraising. Asked what drives her efforts Stacy says she appreciates her good fortune in business and life. “This is a small community and there is always someone to help. Being surrounded by good people who feel like I do and are ready to give back makes it easy to do what we can to make a difference.”
Stacy is quick to point out that this event “takes a village” to pull off, giving credit to a number of people. She notes that her staff went above and beyond, including Jonathan Root, who led a fundraising effort, at Diman Vocational High School in Fall River, and Brooke Arsenault, who was key in making the event happen. Jennie, BB, Jacqueline, Vilet, dozens of local businesses that donated raffle prizes, and, of course, the community are all on Stacy’s list to thank. But, it was her vision that has made the event a reality and she has high expectations for its continued success and growth.
Darlene Allen, CEO and Executive Director of Adoption Rhode Island commented, “Every gift that we will distribute during the coming holidays will bring a message to a child that someone cares and you are not alone. Experiencing the kindness and love that filled The Village on December 4th was a much needed reminder of the good that can overcome the uncertainty and divisiveness that we see too much of right now.”
Jennie, Stacy, and The Village staff are already making plans for next year. In fact, they may not wait until the holiday season and are considering a Christmas in July event for Adoption Rhode Island. Whatever comes next, hundreds of children and families will benefit from the tremendous dedication and kindness of The Village staff and patrons.
In February, The Village will host an information night for anyone interested in learning more about adoption and foster care, including ways you can help to prevent a teen in state care from aging out and becoming homeless. Watch Adoption Rhode Island’s website, www.adoptionri.org for date and details.
Adoption Rhode Island’s mission is to facilitate, promote, and support the permanent placement of children waiting for adoption and to improve the well-being of foster and adopted children and their families. We provide pre- and post- adopt services to children and families, educate and advocate for a child’s right to a safe environment, and increase public awareness of the unmet needs of children and families impacted by foster care and adoption.