What began as a neighbor's effort to help two Johnston kids has grown into a collaboration by people from around Rhode Island to provide support and healing through two more events within the next month.
Shelly Murphy of Lincoln, one of the organizers, wrote in a recent email that the Lily and Jake Fund has scheduled two afternoons of live music, one at The Met in Pawtucket on May 20, and a second on June 3 at Ernie T's in Richmond.
"Several of us are working together to help get the word out about this so Jami [Ouelette, their aunt] can continue to dedicate her time and efforts where they are needed most — the care of Lily and Jake," Murphy wrote.
Johnston firefighters found the two children, now 4 and 5, in their smoke-filled home on the night of Jan. 22, where their father, Donald Greenslit, apparently murdered their mother, Stacie Dorego, and tried to burn her remains in a fireplace.
Within days after Greenslit's arrest, neighbor Cara Mallozzi announced to the media that she had started a collection effort for Lily and Jake, since they had been rescued from the home with little more than the clothes they were wearing.
After Mallozzi found herself overwhelmed by the response, Johnston Firefighter Brian Russo contacted her and helped with bringing the collection effort under the supervision of IAFF Local 1950, the Johnston fire union.
Lily and Jake have been under Ouelette's care and living in Richmond since January, and while they are "beginning to learn how to love and trust again," according to Murphy, "they still have a long way to go and need ongoing emotional and financial support."
Patti Melaragno of Providence, another friend of Ouelette's, wrote that the family needs all the help it can get.
“Most of us can’t imagine what it’s been like for this family dealing with this unthinkable tragedy — thankfully, Family Service of Rhode Island and many other agencies are helping," Melaragno wrote. "While the support is welcoming and necessary, it’s also time consuming, and as self-employed businesses owners, Jami and Jeff’s income has suffered greatly. However, they are determined – and we need to come together to help them."
Murphy explained that the children are at the beginning of a long road.
"Lily and Jake are absolutely beautiful. They are small for their ages," Murphy wrote. "Unfortunately, they had limited exposure to other people and have caught just about every virus possible in the past few months, which has added to the financial challenges. This is a difficult situation in a very poor economy, and like many families today, the couple is persevering and focusing on what the children need."
Scheduled to begin at 2 pm with guitar prodigy Nolan Leite, the May 20 event will also include Jamie Lee & The Bobby Fleet Band, Mark Cutler and Friends, The Wippets and Psychedelic Clown Car, Tom Flynn's Area 51, and Brass Attack.
The Met Legends Allstars complete the bill in the 8 to 9 pm time slot.
Rudy Cheeks, a longtime Providence Phoenix columnist and former 94 WHJY morning show host, is scheduled to serve as MC for the event.
Donation for the Met fundraiser are $30 each or two for $50. Donors will have their names added to a guest list to be checked at the door; no printed tickets.
A lineup for the Ernie T's event [tickets $25 per person, $10 for children] on June 3 has not yet been finalized.
Find more information on the two events, including contacts in several Rhode Island communities, by visiting:
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