Receive Food Assistance
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank is a distribution warehouse for a network of member agencies. We provide food to local food pantries and meal sites which help individuals directly.
To receive food assistance, click here to see a list of agencies in your area, organized by zip code (PDF 82KB). Always contact the agency before you visit to confirm hours of operation and find out what information you need to bring with you.
Also, the United Way Rhode Island 2-1-1 hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have information for thousands of programs, including a statewide listing of food assistance programs – even beyond the Food Bank’s Emergency Provider List. You may reach them free, by dialing 211 on any phone (note: there is usually a few second delay, so don’t hang up, someone will answer), or you may visit them online at www.211ri.org.
Please be sure to ask the 2-1-1 representative for referrals for any other support services you may need. They provide information about programs like housing assistance, utility assistance, public transportation, health care, child care, SNAP and more.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps individuals and families buy food. If you are working but are struggling to buy food and provide nutritious meals, SNAP may be able to help. You do not need to be participating in other Rhode Island Department of Human Services programs to receive SNAP benefits. You can be unemployed or working, preparing for work, receiving a pension or homeless.
Eligible individuals enrolled in SNAP receive benefits via a special debit card issued through the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program. The EBT card can be used to pay for food at supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as some farmer’s markets and food co-ops. Each month, benefit funds are directly deposited into the household's EBT account.
For eligibility requirements and an online application, contact The Rhode Island Department of Human Services’ Food Assistance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
WIC provides food staples like milk, cheese, eggs, juice, cereal and peanut butter to pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of 5. WIC also provides tuna fish and carrots to breastfeeding women.
Visit the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program or call the HEALTH Information Line at 1-800-942-7434, for more information.