Touching people in need has been the mission of the TAP-IN all-volunteer social service organization for 30 years.
The Barrington-based organization plans to celebrate its three decades of serving East Bay and East Providence residents with a party on Dec. 5 at the Rhode Island Country Club.
“We’ll have food, wine and speakers,” said Lynn Moran of Bristol, president of the organization. “We remain very focused on the same goal and same commitment that we started with.”
TAP-IN launched in November of 1983 at the former Barrington school administration building on Maple Avenue – now a medical building. The founding members were Pam Faulkner, still involved; Julie Hamblett, Janet Dreier, Mudge Anderson, Sharon Stormer Cherry and Gretchen Gregory.
It began as an information referral organization but soon expanded into operating a food pantry, giving rides to elderly or handicapped people for medical appointments, and collecting housewares, linens, small appliances, children’s clothing, and toys. In 1985, it moved into the lower level of the former Peck School building -- the former high school in Barrington.
“People needed more help,” said Moran. "We needed more room."
Last year, TAP-IN served more than 17,000 people in the four towns, or more than 1,400 a month.
TAP-IN gets most of its food from the RI Community Food Bank. But it got fresh produce this year from local farmers and churches as well. It is part of the Basic Needs Network, which operates out of St. Michael’s Church in Bristol.
The only criteria people need to take advantage of TAP-IN is a photo ID showing that they are an East Bay resident.
Maintaining the organization relies entirely on volunteers, said Moran. And donations from supporters.
A fundraising campaign -- $30 for 30 Years – starts this month. Letters asking for your help will go out soon, said Liz Lanik, a volunteer concentrating on communications and recruitment.