Warren delivers as crisis closes senior center

Town started delivering bagged lunches to seniors Monday

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Bruce Alves is known to many Warren seniors as the bus driver. This week, he became the deliveryman.

Just before 11 a.m., Mr. Alves delivered the first batch of bagged lunches to Warren seniors who are homebound or who previously would have taken their meals at the now-closed senior center on Libby Lane. He’s happy to help his neighbors, he said, following the town’s new policy of delivering lunches to those who can’t get out. He also wants to help out in any other way he can, he said.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of them,” he said. “I’ve told people I can go to the store for them, help them out … whatever they need.”

On Monday, he delivered eight meals — each with a sandwich, salad and cookie — that had been prepared at the Cranston Senior Center and delivered to Warren and other towns across the East Bay.

Betty Hoague, the senior center director, said she expects the number of bagged lunches to grow in the coming days. She has spoken to many of the town’s seniors since the crisis began, and said that they are concerned. For many of them, the senior center was a social hub and without the companionship it provided, it has been a difficult time for some elders who live alone.

“If anyone needs help I’m here,” she said. “All they need to do is call. They may feel isolated and alone but I want them to know that there are services for them.”

While Mr. Alves delivered his meals, Warren Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Abbruzzi and staff members delivered another 20 or 30 to Kickemuit Village residents.

Residents who wish to take part in the senior lunch program, or who have other questions about services during the crisis, should call Ms. Hoague at 247-1930.

Tax preparation

Ms. Hoague said that its AARP Tax Assistance program has been suspended until at least March 27, but said seniors do not need to worry that they will not get tax preparation services when it becomes safe to do so.

“Hopefully we will hear what the program is going to do after the 27th,” she said.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.