A lot has been written about blizzards in Rhode Island, from 1978 (the granddaddy of all) to what will now become the blizzard of 2022. What weaves these catastrophic events together, is the toll it takes on our seniors, those physically impaired, and the homeless.

Just this week, volunteers scoured our neighborhoods in search of homeless individuals and families for the once-a-year Point in Time count of homeless, required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It came at a time when temperatures dipped into single digits, and forecasters were warning of a major snowstorm, now expected to be a blizzard, that again will be followed by sub-10-degree weather.

Hopefully, there are agencies out trying to place the homeless in temporary shelters. 

For the rest of us, we need to be aware of neighbors and family, especially the elderly, and physically challenged. And when I suggest the rest of us, I also mean our religious community. 

If your church, synagogue, or mosque does not have a phone list, a phone tree, a way of contacting its members to help assure their wellbeing, then they’ve missed on what should be, perhaps, their first obligation.

So, my request of all of us is to make those calls, knock on a door, make sure your neighbor, your uncle, mother, father, grandparents, are prepared to cope with the storm. That also means, be prepared to go with a shovel, snowblower, or plow and help those people dig out once the snowfall ends.

This is when we really show ourselves as a community. We leave politics aside and care for one another. 

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.

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