Our member agencies include 159 meal sites and food pantries spanning from Woonsocket to Westerly. Join us every Friday as we spotlight a different one. Each of our member organizations uniquely serves their community to get food assistance to those who need it most.
For your Food Bank member agency to be featured; email us here.
The East Greenwich Interfaith Food Cupboard is located at 99 Pierce Street in East Greenwich, inside the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church building. The pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Guests can come twice a month and if there is an emergency, guests can leave a voicemail.
The Food Cupboard has been in East Greenwich since 1982. Chris and Steve Bartlett manage the space. Although they belong to a different parish than the one where the pantry is housed, they are proud to be a part of a program that fosters collaboration. Shared Chris:
“My husband Steve and I took over organizing the pantry in 2010. No one is ever turned away. When someone comes in, they’re going to get food.”
The Interfaith Food Cupboard is a collaborative effort of local faith institutions:
“The local Methodist church has many volunteers who support the pantry, and the local Jewish temple has a garden where they grow fresh produce during the warmer months for pantry guests, and the Episcopal church allows us to use their space.”
All 159 of the RI Community Food Bank’s member agencies have access to support, training, and grant funds. The team at the food cupboard has taken advantage of these programs:
“Through past grants from the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, we were able to purchase refrigeration and metal shelving. This helps to make this a very nice and accessible food pantry.”
Guest choice is important to the team at the food cupboard, and they’ve adapted to support guest safety, while preserving the shopping experience:
“Before COVID hit, guests would come into the room and a volunteer would shop with them. We’ve started to make a ‘pick list” which lists most of the items that the cupboard has. We have clipboards and we leave them on the registration table so folks can shop with the lists and we get their groceries out to them,” said Chris.
Additionally, the food cupboard has local partnerships to support their team in providing a variety of foods to guests,
“The Stop and Shop on Frenchtown Road has been very generous in partnering with us. Every Monday, we have a volunteer who goes and picks up meat and bread. We have so much from them, and we can offer a lot to our guests. The guests choose what they like,” shared Chris.
To learn more about the pantry, visit their website: https://www.facebook.com/East-Greenwich-Interfaith-Food-Cupboard-385691068721310
The Allendale Baptist Church Food Pantry in North Providence is located at 545 Woonasquatucket Avenue and is open the third Saturday of the month from 9-11:30 a.m., and the second Wednesday of the month from 5-6:30 p.m. Currently, the pantry is doing outdoor distribution with walk-up window service.
Kim has been director of the food pantry since 2012, when Allendale Baptist took over from another local church. Over the past year and a half, the team at Allendale Baptist has had to adapt to the changing public health needs, while preserving the customer experience.
Shared Kim, “When COVID hit, we had to adapt to moving to outdoor distribution, but it was really important to us to continue to give customer choice. We would do an inventory each time, and guests have a list that they can shop from. We are still doing that, and being mindful of the changes and safety, while keeping our guests in mind.”
Additionally, the team is looking forward to when it is safe to gather again:
“Many of our guests are elderly and disabled folks on a fixed income who live in the nearby housing developments, and that has had impacts. We look forward to allowing guests to go back to our Welcome Center room. Many of the guests are single households and some of the reasons they miss that is that they don’t have access to community right now. Guests sit and chat together in that area, and so that’s important. Some of our guests have felt the isolation of this time, and we’re looking forward to opening back up inside and having the ability for community and connection.”
Cindy, another volunteer, said that her personal story has impacted her choice to volunteer at the pantry:
“Me personally, I came from poverty and a low-income household with my mom. She had eight children, and we used to go to food banks to get help, so I bring my children to volunteer to show them to always give back. You never know what can happen. They don’t know the struggle or anything, and I’m doing good, but that’s also another reason you feel good that you are passing [giving back] on because you’ve experienced that.”
Kim shared that the connections are important to why she volunteers:
“This is my church and I get to know the people who live in Centredale, and we at the church do some other outreach events. Now I know the faces of the people who come out on a monthly basis, and it gives me a sense of community.”
Pantry guests that come from the nearby subsidized high rises often walk over to the pantry. One of these guests was Roger, a WWII veteran, who was born and raised in Rhode Island.
“I’m 96 and I’m a veteran. I served in World War 2 and I live on a fixed income. Coming here every month is a big help to me, since I retired over 30 years ago. They’re very kind at this pantry and I can pick all the foods I like,” he shared.
To learn more about the pantry, visit their websites: https://sites.google.com/site/abcnorthprovidence/home or
Today we are spotlighting the Saint Vincent DePaul Society (SVDP) at St. John Paul II Food Pantry located at St. Cecilia Church. The pantry address is 745 Central Avenue in Pawtucket and they are open Tuesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for 02861 residents. Guests can visit weekly for food assistance.
Even on one of the hottest days of the summer, SVDP St. John Paul II food pantry was ready to welcome guests. As the temperature passed 95°F, the cool church basement opened early, and guests received ice cold water and sat under the overhead fans while they waited to be served.
Guests often come with friends, and others bring their family, and the space where guests wait to shop also functions as a space for people to share much needed connection. The pantry also has sundries for guests to access, including shampoo, soap and other necessities. Shopping is set up around the edges of the large room, and guests can move around from table to table, selecting the food that they want and need to bring home. Volunteers created photo signage of the products at each table, so that guests of all languages have multiple points of access in selecting groceries. Everyone is grateful for the chance to sit and cool down in the waiting area as each family moves through the shopping line.
Jeanne, the manager of the food pantry, shared that the team has used the pandemic as a learning opportunity, to better serve their community and ensure that guests are getting what they need. She said:
“We’ve adapted to ensure that our guests are getting the food that they can really use and listening to our guests about what they want. We always try to have rice, beans and meats and make sure we’re listening to what else guests want.” The pantry also gets a lot of support from the community. “When the school is open, the students participate in having food drives, and the members of the parish bring food every week. As part of SVDP, we also support our community with rent and heating and anything else they might need and being part of the conference means we have all the support from the other members of SVDP,” she said.
Martha, who comes to the pantry with her friend Sarah, shares that she’s still getting back on her feet after the pandemic made it challenging for her to be employed. She said:
“I’m working part time now, and I only get a certain income and social security, so it can be hard to have enough. I come every week when I’m not working and can get the day off to come and get the food I need. They’re very nice people and the food helps a lot – you also get to choose what you bring home, and it’s nice to be able to do that.”
Sarah shared that she also appreciates the support that the pantry provides her.
“It’s really helpful to come in here, to not have enough money coming in, and then being able to get the food you need. Everyone here is respectful and helpful,” she said.
The pantry is run fully by volunteers who work together:
“I came from being a nurse, before I retired, so I was accustomed to working as a team, and that’s what we are here as a group of volunteers. Everyone has a job, and we always work together,” shared Jeanne.
To learn more about the pantry, visit their website: https://saintjohnpaulri.com/st-vincent-depaul
God’s Little Acre is a part of the SVDP St. Philip Food Pantry in Greenville. The Rhode Island Community Food Bank works hard to ensure that pantry and meal site guests have access to a variety of fresh produce. Our member agencies work with local farms and wholesale growers and some even manage their own community gardens with help from volunteers.
We first profiled God’s Little Acre half a decade ago, in partnership with Rhode Island Monthly, and you can read that story here. In the six years since the original profile, God’s Little Acre has expanded, weathered the impacts of the pandemic, and continued to ensure that fresh produce reaches community members in need.
God’s Little Acre is located behind St. Philip School right off Route 44 in Greenville, RI. The garden was created to support the SVDP St. Philip Food Pantry, a member agency of the Food Bank. Paul Santucci, who has managed God’s Little Acre for 17 years, recently spoke with us about the how the garden supports the pantry:
“My dad was in the produce business, so this is something I wanted to take up and it’s been a good service opportunity. We’ve made some really good friends along the way.”
The garden is run and maintained with volunteer and community support.
“We are an organic garden, so we don’t use any synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pesticides. You can see the drip irrigation, and we have a water line going into each row. We start all our plants in the greenhouse behind the school. We start in March and end in October.”
Students from St. Philip School are a big part of the effort:
“During the week, the students from St Philip’s water the plants in the greenhouse. It’s just the labor of love.”
And all of this hard work adds up:
“This year we’ve planted about 250 eggplant, 150 peppers, and about 100 tomatoes. The garden is just about a quarter of an acre, and it grows a lot. In our best year we yielded 4,000 pounds, but I’d say we average about 2,000 pounds annually. The produce is shared with SVDP St. Philip and Mary House Social Service Ministry at Saint Patrick’s in Providence,” shared Paul.
“We also have volunteers from a few different places, including students that are doing community service hours. We’re looking to expand more in the future, and see what else we can grow,” said Paul.
Partnerships both within the St. Philip community and externally are important to the God’s Little Acre team.
“We work closely with the sisters who live onsite at the church. Additionally, Jaswell’s Farm is a huge help to this community, they donate above and beyond.,” said Paul.
The pandemic impacted the farm, just as it affected many other farmers and food producers.
“Some years are good, some years are challenging. Last year was hard because the school was closed. We didn’t have students to grow any plants, so we had to buy peppers and other starts.”
The farm was inspired by seeing the impact of local gardening in other communities.
“When we started, 17 years ago, we had a little a strip of land behind the pantry. The Food Bank inspired me in a way – the CEO had seen a powerful documentary about gardening and shared it, and I was inspired to ask the pastor here, and he said yes to starting the garden as part of SVDP. We’ve gotten everything donated over the years, the soil, the systems, and it’s helped us to grow.”
You can visit their website here to learn more: https://saintphilip.com/god-s-little-acre
The Bread of Life Food Pantry is located at Newman Congregational Church, 100 Newman Avenue in Rumford, Rhode Island. The food pantry is open on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The pantry is the collaborative effort of six East Providence churches: Bethany Church of the Nazarene, Church of the Epiphany, Evangelical Covenant Church, Haven United Methodist Church, Newman Congregational Church, and St. Margaret Church. Hosted within the Newman Congregational space, The Bread of Life Food Pantry is open to all those in need of food assistance from East Providence and surrounding communities.
Each month, 50 volunteers serve the guests and another 35 volunteers work behind the scenes facilitating the delivery, inspection, sorting and stocking of the food. Regular volunteers have built relationships with pantry guests over time, working hard to provide services that make people feel welcome, including translation in Portuguese, curbside pickup and an elevator to the pantry area for shoppers. Additionally, parishioners often bring non-perishable food donations to the church services where they attend, which supports Bread of Life in supplying a variety of food to their guests.
For the time being, the pantry’s food distribution process has moved outdoors, to accommodate social distancing. The pantry team plans to phase back into in-person shopping in the coming months. Twice each month, volunteers load bags of produce and non-perishables directly into vehicles in the church parking lot, which allows guests to get what they need, delivered directly to their car.
On a recent visit to the pantry, guests and volunteers were navigating heavy rain, working hard to ensure that everyone got the food they needed, while staying dry and socially distancing. While adapting the model of their pantry, one volunteer shared how the team works hard to meet the needs of the community, through all kinds of logistical challenges.
Jessica Shaw, a volunteer who coordinates pantry operations works to support other volunteers in staffing and operating the pantry, shared,
“We’ve reduced our number of volunteers per shift, so that everyone has a role and can jump into supporting guests. We find that our evening hours work well for guests, and for our volunteer team because the after-work hours mean it’s accessible to anyone.” Shaw continued, “Last spring, we had to shift the pantry to accommodate COVID restrictions. We’re continuing to do pre-bagged groceries now but will be returning to in-person shopping soon.”
The pantry has continued to ensure that they can meet the needs of their community through other types of accommodations as well,
“We work hard to support our community, and we also have a translator to support Portuguese speaking guests, and we also work to make adjustments for families during the summer months, when kids aren’t getting school meals; making sure they have enough food to cover those missed mealtimes in school,” said Jessica.
John, another Bread of Life volunteer who supports the guests in parking and entry logistics, shared some of what brings him to support the pantry twice a month,
“I’ve been volunteering since my daughter was in 8th grade and she’s now 24. So that’s about 11 years, I’ve been volunteering. I’d like to give back, but I don’t have a whole bunch of financial resources, so I try to give back in kind by coming here and supporting this work.”
Chucky and Andrina, two pantry guests, are both disabled, and the pantry is a lifeline for them. Chucky shared,
“I walk with a cane, and I’ve been coming here for a few years now. I have a fixed income, being on disability, which my wife is on too. We need to stretch what we have, and so we come here to get food, and they also have food for our dog, which is really important to us. This place is full of some really beautiful people, and our experiences here are really positive: we are like a family and everything is greatly appreciated.”
Jessica echoed that sentiment, sharing,
“The best part of being here is making people feel welcome.”
Read more about the pantry over on their website:
Coventry Food Services at 191 MacArthur Boulevard in Coventry is open every Tuesday 1-4, and every Wednesday and Thursday 9-12. The pantry is open for curbside pickup by appointment for Coventry residents once a month. The agency shares a building with Coventry Health and Human Services building which also houses the Comprehensive Community Action Program of Coventry, and guests can also access their services, including a dental and doctor’s office and a WIC office.
The Coventry Community Garden, located in front of the Town Hall Annex on Flat River Road, provides produce to the pantry as well as volunteer opportunities for local residents to assist with garden maintenance and harvesting.
Stephani, the Food Pantry Coordinator, shared about the garden:
“We get a lot of fresh produce from the garden, and they grow a variety of things like lettuce, tomatoes and there is even an active bee hive in the garden.”
During the pandemic, the pantry shifted to the Coventry Resource to do a drive through model, but they are back at their MacArthur location:
“Hopefully in the next few months we will have guests coming in and doing shopper’s choice again, we’re also hoping to start using the Farm to Pantry grant we just received to do produce days, using all of the amazing resources from the Food Bank and Farm Fresh RI’s partnership.”
With the Farm to Pantry grant the agency has just been awarded they will offer a “Veggie Days” program. Shared Stephani:
“We’re going to start Veggie Days once a month, then move to twice a month. Pantry guests will get produce and other supplemental items. I’m really excited to be able to provide more fresh items. For years I’ve wanted to be able to offer a fresh produce program, and now that I know that Farm Fresh Rhode Island is a resource for us, I’m looking forward to filling up these beautiful, big refrigerators with fresh stuff. With the move back to this building, this our chance to reinvent ourselves and try something new.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://coventryri.org/human-services
The East Bay Food Pantry is located at 532 Wood Street in Bristol. The pantry serves Bristol County, East Providence and Newport County and is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Their Food4Kids program is open on Fridays from 10 a.m. – 12 noon.
In addition to the pantry, East Bay also offers a Fresh Food Friday program, CSFP boxes for seniors, and an Access Nutrition Initiative that offers educational opportunities to program guests, volunteers, and staff through workshops, cooking classes, food tastings, and printed materials.
Executive Director Karen Griffith-Dietrich, said,
“Food services are our central focus. We also have a thrift shop, which provides around 40% of our revenue and provides low-cost goods to our guests and the community. We have a bunch of different food programs, including an outdoor food pantry, and we now offer online ordering through our website. The Fresh Food Friday program offers fresh produce every single Friday. Pantry guests can come to us every single week and get fresh fruits and vegetables.”
The pantry also runs a small community farm. The farm enables them to have local fresh produce on hand during the summer and fall growing months.
“We run a community garden. Last year, about a quarter of the food we handed out was fresh produce. We have a farm manager, and much of the labor is done by volunteers,” shared Karen.
“We have a Food4Kids program which is designed to provide supplementary weekend and school vacation food. When schools closed in early 2020, we wanted to make sure that kids had access to those meals, so we started making that a weekly program. It has continued weekly since then, providing a week of lunches for kids who need them,” Karen said.
The pantry relies on part-time staff and volunteer support to manage their programming.
“People who found themselves out of jobs last year and were now able to volunteer for us. We’ve been fortunate. What’s powerful for me is the difference that were making in the community. I feel really good about the programs that we offer and the resources that we offer,” shared Karen.
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.eastbayfoodpantry.org/programs/food-programs
New Life Church Food Pantry is located behind the New Life Church at 251 Post Road in Wakefield. This rural pantry is open to the community on the second Wednesday of the month from 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. and the fourth Wednesday of the month from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
“We are open twice a month, and we serve the folks here in Washington County. We do one day and one nighttime distribution, so we have hours that are accessible to people who come after work. We have a small clothing closet as well, which is especially helpful in the winter, for seasonal needs like coats.” said Cheryl, New Life’s Pantry coordinator,.
The pantry is run exclusively with volunteer help and has been open for over two decades. Cheryl said,
“I like the interaction here. I’ve established a lot of good relationships with people, and I really like the community feel we have here.”
Another volunteer, Sharon, shared,
“I want to give back to the community. I’ve raised six kids and I know what it is like to try and make ends meet.”
Cathy, a pantry guest, shared that New Life was a lifeline during recent school shutdowns. She said,
“When my kids were out of school this past year, this pantry is where we came to get food. Since they weren’t getting school meals it was hard to make sure we had enough to eat. Every time we come, all the staff are friendly and kind, and I feel like they are looking out for me. This pantry has really helped my family.”
New additions to the pantry space include a large walk-in freezer and refrigerator, as well as a generous space for food and seasonal clothing items. Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.newlifewakefield.com
Trinity Episcopal Church Red Door Food Pantry is located at 249 Danielson Pike in North Scituate. The pantry is open every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Trinity Episcopal Church is located right across from the Scituate Reservoir, on a wooded path where they host their annual Walk to End Hunger each year. The pantry at Trinity has recently moved into a newly renovated, community building next door to the church itself, which also houses their thrift store. The renovated space was finished during the end of 2020, after what had been a very challenging year for the community and for the pantry itself.
The pantry adjusted their model to keep guests safe during the pandemic, offering a temporary model of pre-bagged groceries with curbside pickup. As more guests and communities have had access to the vaccine, the pantry was able to resume shopper’s choice, using their new space to offer one-on-one client shopping in-person in their new, larger space. Brand new shelving and freezers offer a clear of view of local dairy, fresh produce and pantry staples.
During the pandemic, the former lead volunteer trained and supported the new lead volunteer, Lynette, virtually ensuring a seamless transition.
“Everyone of us is here because we enjoy helping people and that’s just the bottom line. Especially with the challenges of the past year, we know people really need help and that’s what we’re here for. I did not realize what a passion I had for this until I started working here last April in the thick of the COVID cases. The pantry needed volunteers, and asked if I wanted to come here and that started me in this lead role,” said Lynette.
The church has a large community of volunteers that support both the pantry and the thrift store. Volunteers come from both the local parish, and the surrounding community of northwestern Rhode Island. Lynette said,
“The volunteers here are all so invested. We treat everyone with dignity and work to build relationships. Our guests leave knowing that there are people who really care about them.”
Cheryl, a pantry guest, shared her experience at Trinity, where she has been coming for food assistance for a little over two years. While her and her husband have face health challenges, the Trinity Pantry has been a support system. She shared,
“Coming here takes a burden off. Any lit bit here and there makes a big difference to us. I have some health issues, so being able to get healthy food makes a big difference to me.”
Please visit their website to learn more: http://www.trinitynorthscituate.org/outreach/food-pantry/
Tap-In is located at 281 County Road in the Peck Building, in Barrington. The pantry is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and is fully handicapped accessible. Tap-In was founded in 1983 by a group of six women to provide referrals and information to people. Over the years, Tap-in has grown into a provider of food, clothes, furniture, transport and information for the residents of the East Bay. The Tap-In space was recently renovated by the city of Barrington, moving their offices, pantry and home supplies areas into one, ground level space that is below the city library.
Cathy, a volunteer for over 20 years, shared about the pantry’s recent move into their new, renovated space:
“We have had to adapt to moving offices, and working with our guests during COVID. It is so nice to have this new space that is on the ground floor and easily accessible to everyone. During this past year, we worked to make sure that not only our space was accessible, but that our services were too. We had volunteer drivers do deliveries for those who were homebound. It’s been a real team effort in figuring out how can we serve our community during COVID-19 times.”
Cathy also shared that the team recently sent out a survey to ask guests their feedback on their experiences at Tap-In. As a result, they are offering spring-cleaning supplies, the first in a series of seasonal special programs, based on guest feedback, that they launched in April. They have also increased their food pantry household visits and now offer twice monthly food distributions to families. The team is continuing to survey program guests to learn more about what their guests need and want.
The pantry offers fresh, seasonal produce from McCoy Community Farm in Warren and the Barrington Community Garden. The pantry also offers more than food if guests have a need for more. Tap-In has a full supply of home items for those who need them, and these supplies made a big impact on a recent Tap-In guest who had to leave a housing situation emergently and was just restarting her life in a new apartment with her family. Because she and her children had to move quickly, they didn’t get to take many of their belongings. On a recent visit, she was able to get food for several weeks, cleaning supplies, blankets, a crock pot and many other things to get settled in her new home. When she left Tap-In, she was able to have enough food and home supplies for the family to move comfortably into their new housing.
Kate, another volunteer, shared:
“We have such a strong community of support here. We were able to use a local church to house the pantry temporarily when we we’re renovating, and everyone in the town always steps up to donate household items, funds or food to support our work. The response from our community has been amazing.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.tapinri.org
The Salvation Army Newport Corps’ Food Pantry and Meal Site programs are located at 51 Memorial Boulevard in Newport. The pantry serves Newport, Middletown, Jamestown, Portsmouth, Tiverton & Little Compton and is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The meal site is open Fridays and Sundays from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. The location is handicapped accessible and offers Mandarin & Spanish translation.
Captain LeNissa runs the Salvation Army of Newport, serving as it’s Corps Officer.
“I’m in charge of this location, but I have a lot of volunteers who I could not do this work without.”
In addition to the food pantry and a meal site, they offer family services and youth programs. The food pantry had to adapt their programming to deliver contactless service:
“Before COVID-19, we would have a lot more guests in the building and we’re still adapting every day. We bring food pantry groceries to our guests’ cars and offer to-go meals for our meal site guests. We work hard to always check in with guests. We know our guests well, so we want to see how they are doing.”
LeNissa’s family experience has impacted her choice to serve as an officer in the Salvation Army. Her mother was an officer until her recent death, and her career as an officer greatly influenced LeNissa’s choice to work at the Salvation Army.
“My mom was a Corps member too. She served her community so well. Her dedication to this work was one of the main reasons for me in starting this career. She recently passed and serving my community here is the best way to honor her legacy.”
The Salvation Army of Newport is located en route to many of the famous Newport mansions, but their work is an important reminder that hunger can infiltrate any community. One pantry guest shared,
“I really like this pantry because I really know everybody and they are really friendly. It’s great to come here and know that I’m going to get all that I need for a month. I always see a friendly face here. Since COVID-19 hit, going out has been harder, but not a lot has changed for me. I still need food, and always feel safe coming here to get it.”
Visit their website to learn more: https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/southern-new-england/newport-rhode-island/
The St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Food Pantry, located at 690 Newport Avenue in Pawtucket. The pantry is open Thursdays 9 AM – 12 PM & the 4th Sunday of the month 10:30 AM -11:30 AM and serves Pawtucket, Cumberland and Central Falls. Guests may visit the pantry twice a month and the location is handicapped accessible.
Bruce, a volunteer who supports pantry logistics, has been with St. Matthew’s for about ten years. A former local teacher, Bruce loves that this work is another way for him to connect with the community. He said,
“When I left teaching, I wanted to give back. This allows me to meet people and support people locally who need food assistance.”
Bruce and the pantry team adapted the pantry program to protect guests during the pandemic. Bruce said,
“Our outdoor, drive-up model helps to keep people safe. People can walk up or drive up, making our food distribution accessible to those with or without a car. We have a lot of seniors who take care of grandchildren and lots of multi-generational households.”
The pantry is able to serve these larger families who, until very recently, have needed extra food support because kids were not in school in-person and not able to participate in the school breakfast and lunch programs.
The pantry receives a variety of food from the RI Community Food Bank and other local sources.
“We have a farm in Seekonk that gives us fresh produce in the summer, which our guests always look forward to getting,” said Bruce.
He also shared that his favorite part of his work at the pantry is the comradery between the volunteer team and the guests whom he has gotten to know over the years. He said,
“We are a reliable source for the community. We’re here if people need us and we work hard to make people feel comfortable. I’ve shared tears and laughs with people, when they have lost their jobs and homes. We are here to help people in need through all those phases of life.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://smtlc.org/services/
SVDP St. Joseph Church Food Pantry is located at 5 Mann Avenue in Newport. Due to Covid-19, the pantry is offering scheduled delivery services instead of their regular walk-in pantry. Deliveries take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 10am- 1pm. Pantry Volunteer, Sheila Finnegan, shared that seeing people struggling and being able to deliver enough food for 5 days is a significant part of her volunteer experience at St. Joseph’s. She said,
“We have a dedicated cell phone for the program and volunteers to connect with guests to get the details needed to arrange a delivery.”
The pantry is located in proximity to other services for residents:
“It’s also wonderful that our program is close to MLK Community Center so that our guests can also visit them to for food and other services. There are options for people on the Island to get food assistance. We are all part of a larger team.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.stjosephsnewport.org/st-vincent-de-paul-society
“We have to keep going, that’s why we’re here – to help people.” Jackie Reyes, FHH Olneyville Food Center Pantry Coordinator.
Federal Hill House – Olneyville Food Center is a satellite program of the Federal Hill House and is located at 261 Manton Avenue in Providence. The pantry serves the 02908 and 02909 areas and is open Tue & Fri 9 AM – 2PM and Wed. & Thurs. 9 AM – 3 PM.
Jackie Reyes, pantry coordinator, shared that the center has seen a steady increase in need since the pandemic started,
“The need has stayed high, we’ve been able to meet the needs of the community through our services. We’ve been able to serve everyone by preparing food bags in advance and moving our line outdoors. We’ve got covered space for people to stay warm and dry.”
Jackie shared that the pantry sees everyone from families to seniors and in everyone between, and serves anyone in need in their service areas.
“We serve anyone who needs help. The poverty level of people living in the area right around the pantry is one of the highest in the city.”
The pantry never ceased operations through the course of the challenges of the last year.
“Our volunteers have seen us through. They’ve been here the whole time, helping us to get food out.”
The pantry sees a high volume of clients from around the city, and the Federal Hill House team works hard to preserve and foster relationships with guest families.
“The families are the most important part of this job for me – those relationships. I’ve known families where the babies have grown up in front of us. Their three-year-old kids are now saying “hi!” and it’s so wonderful to see them. I’ve known them since they were tiny,” Jackie said.
One pantry guest, Milady, shared that she’s been coming to the pantry for 3 years.
“The pandemic hasn’t changed a lot for me. I’ve still needed to come for food, I really like the people and the food here.”
Federal Hill House also has a community garden at their main location, where community members can grow fresh produce for their families, and this resource is available for the food center guests. The garden is one of the many social services the larger organization offers.
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.federalhillhouse.org/programs/food-pantries/
Jonnycake Center for Hope is located at 1231 Kingstown Road in Peace Dale. Their food pantry is open Monday 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Tuesday 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Wednesday 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and Saturday 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The pantry is part of the larger Jonnycake Center’s programs, which include heat and rental assistance, tax preparation, career counseling and much more. The Jonnycake Center for Hope is currently renovating the former Peace Dale grammar school into a hub for all their services, which will include a demonstration kitchen, social services and food programs, all in the same building. The pantry temporarily shifted their model due to Covid-19 and is currently operating a low-contact pantry service.
Butch Bush, the Food & Nutrition Programs Manager, runs the pantry. Butch became involved with the Jonnycake Center after being laid off from the restaurant industry during the early days of the pandemic. “I started out as a volunteer. I live right down the road and was able to jump right into this role. I was a cook for a long time. The new kitchen space we’re building is going to open up even more opportunities for nutrition education.” Butch oversees the volunteers that work in the pantry and pantry guests have built relationships with many members of the team. “The volunteers are such a source of knowledge. They know all our guests, and they’ve been so helpful in building relationships with the community.” The pantry sources fresh produce from the Food Bank, local growers in the summer, and through Hope’s Harvest. Butch shared their favorite part of the work is interacting with guests, volunteers and staff. They said, “It’s a really good crew, and I meet tons of people. Doing this work in the town I live in is pretty cool.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.jonnycakecenter.org/the-food-pantry/
The Foster Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP,) is located at 181 Howard Hill Road in Foster in the Town Hall building. Their food pantry, which has been in operation for nearly 40 years, serves Foster and Scituate and is open Monday through Wednesday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and Thursdays from 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM.
In addition to food assistance the Foster CCAP program offers support with healthcare enrollment, social services programs as well as a clothing closet for anyone in need. Many of the people locally have experienced life and job changes because of the pandemic, needing food assistance urgently, but some residents have been continually accessing the resources since before COVID-19 took hold. Cindy, a guest who has been using CCAP services for about three years shared,
“It’s so much more than just food. I’ve signed up for different healthy programs, and the staff here turns you on to a lot of information.
Carol, Foster Director of Human Services said,
“Food is the vehicle by which people come here and then they get access to all the resources.
Cindy shared that she initially came in for support in enrolling for healthcare, but she’s gotten so much more over the years,
“It’s the connection that brings me here. Carol really helps you figure all the resources out.”
Carol runs the Foster CCAP program with the idea that people are not just hungry, and often have lots of accompanying needs.
“I work hard to get the message out about what we’re doing. I put little pieces in the local paper 4 or 5 times a month. Articles on our wish list for the pantry, things we’re running low on and resources we have like SNAP, flu clinic, heating and tax assistance. This free local paper allows people to get familiar with the fact that there is a Foster Department of Human Services and here are all the different things that happen here,” said Carol.
The pantry offers food monthly, as well as assistance with healthcare enrollment, books, and a free clothing closet that is rotated seasonally. Most recently, Carol and the CCAP office has been coordinating transportation and volunteers for the Foster-Gloucester COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Volunteers transport seniors to be vaccinated and staff the local clinic.
“Volunteers are the backbone of this organization. Without volunteers I could not do my job,” shared Carol.
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.townoffoster.com/human-services/pages/outreach
The Davinci Center for Community Progress is located at 470 Charles Street in Providence. Their food pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. In addition to the pantry, the Center offers health classes, bagged lunches for seniors from Blackstone Health, youth programs and job training. They also offer case management. Case workers at the center have been able to support seniors in registering for vaccinations, even supporting transportation to appointments. The staff also shared that they work hard to support guests with not only their food needs, but also in supporting them in pursuing interests and job training through the center’s program. Terry, who is the program coordinator for the center, shared: “We don’t end up just feeding their bodies, we talk with them and make connections, offer programs, so we feed their minds as well.”
The food pantry serves residents of the North End of Providence. Currently, pantry guests use a shopping list to select the food items of their choice, and staff fill grocery bags and bring it to them in their cars.
Executive Director John DeLuca, showed us some baskets full of sundries and said, “We also give out extra items at times, a volunteer recently filled these Easter baskets with toiletries, which we’ve been able to specifically share with some of the homeless people we serve.” John shared that his favorite part of the work is, “seeing our guests succeed, going on to in turn to give back to the Center when they are able.”
Please visit their website to learn more: http://www.davincicenter.org/
The Capital City Food Pantry is located at the Tavares Community Center at 285 Chad Brown Street in Providence. The pantry is open Monday-Friday: 9am – 3pm. Erin Brady, Food Pantry Manager recently shared:
“Our guests range from young adults to the elderly. We have different days for seniors, and families of varying sizes, as well as a produce day.”
To keep the community safe, they are operating a curbside pickup. Erin also assists individuals and families by connecting them to other resources in the community. Being in proximity to the Chad Brown apartments, allows Erin to build relationships within the neighborhood, and her volunteers are from the housing community itself. They all know their neighbors and their needs, and can better serve the community because of this.
Tracey a volunteer of 4 years, shared “…the pantry being right here is helpful to all the neighbors.”
When asked what her favorite part of her work was, Erin explained,
“I love the interaction. You meet all different people, and everyone comes from different circumstances. Everyone’s culture is different. It’s nice to get to know people on a personal level. I get to be personal with the guests here.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.capcitycommunitycenter.org/our-programs/capital-city-food-pantry
The Limerock Baptist Church Food Pantry is located at 1075 Great Road in Lincoln. The food pantry is open every other Saturday from 9-10am for all, and every other Tuesday from 4:30-5:45pm for Lincoln residents. Stephen Crenshaw, Chairman of the Social Concerns Committee runs the pantry and has been on board for 10 of the 15 years of that the pantry has been open. Before the pandemic started, Limerock relied on Boy Scout drives, donations from Stop and Shop and local food collection, in addition to the food they get from the RI Food Bank. Stephen shared how they’ve bridged the gap as some of these sources were less available because of COVID,
“What’s been wonderful is the outpouring of support from our community. We tell people they can donate wholesome food together or make a monetary donation, and they’ve been so thoughtful.”
In the warmer weather, Limerock maintains a large community garden, where they grow food for the pantry, another way the community is involved in food assistance. Stephen shared that no matter the town or city, hunger sadly persists everywhere:
“Lincoln is seen as one of the more affluent towns, but you know there’s hunger everywhere. There is no time that hunger is not going to affect someone. There are always emergencies and situations that make bills difficult to pay and then buying food turns into a hardship.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.lrbcri.org/lrbc-food-pantry (Photo courtesy of Limerock Church.)
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (MLK Community Center) is located at 20 Dr. Marcus F. Wheatland Blvd. in Newport. The Food Pantry is open M, W, F, from 10:00am – 2:00pm, Wednesday evenings 4:00pm-6:00pm and the 1st Saturday of each month from 10:00am – 12:00pm. The MLK offers a meal site, serving breakfast M-F 7:30 – 8:30am. The Mobile Food Pantry makes rotating visits to neighborhoods in Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown and Tiverton and makes a standing third Tuesday monthly visit to Newport’s Park Holm Senior Center. Heather Hole Strout, Executive Director, shared how food Assistance is a huge part of the MLK Community Center’s work, with the on-site pantry providing food assistance to many people who had never accessed it before the pandemic.
“Our hunger services include an on-site food pantry, a mobile food pantry, daily breakfast programs, Grab n Go hot meal lunch offerings and grocery delivery to seniors and the homebound.”
The mobile food pantry has been a lifeline for the Newport community through the pandemic:
“People were having to Uber or take the bus to get to food resources and we thought let’s bring more food more often to the people. The mobile pantry went out 37 times in 2019, but 134 times in 2020.”
In addition to the fresh produce they receive as a member agency of the Food Bank, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center works hard to source fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting local businesses. As Executive Director Heather Hole Strout explained about their Veggie Days program:
“We’ve partnered with local farmers and we’re able to offer produce year-round. Grant funding helps support purchasing locally. Our weekly Veggie Days include produce gleaned from farmer’s markets and donated by home gardeners both in the warm months and all year round.”
The MLK Center provides fresh produce to guests but also takes it out to the community through a Mobile Food Pantry that visits neighborhoods in Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown and Tiverton. This resource is particularly helpful for residents who don’t have access to transportation or are unable to visit the Center’s food pantry. Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.MLKCCenter.org/hunger-services
(Photo courtesy of the MLK Community Center Team.)
The Faith Fellowship Food Pantry, located at 260 Victory Highway in West Greenwich. The food pantry is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-6pm.
The pantry has been open for about 10 years, and Pastor Steve focuses on building relationships with pantry guests:
“It’s all about listening to folks. I find that everybody’s got a story, and especially now with people in their houses all the time, they can’t wait to share their stories. The pantry is very much a relational thing for us as well, making those personal connections with our guests is so important.”
The pantry started distributing Farmers to Families boxes this past December. The once monthly distributions allow guests to access a box of fresh meat, dairy and produce grown locally, and subsidized by the USDA.
“It’s been wonderful to share the abundance in these boxes. To think of what it would cost a family to go out and purchase all this food, it’s so wonderful to be able to give these out.”
Faith Fellowship has been able to reach out to their community to staff the pantry and the Farmers to Families distributions with volunteers:
“We’ve been lucky that we have volunteers to help with all of our work; community members, lots of students and everyone is so willing to help and step up. So many people locally have a heart for this work.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.faithfellowshipaog.com/food-pantry
The Community Food Share Pantry at First Unitarian Church of Providence is located at 1 Benevolent Street in Providence. The food pantry, which has been in operation for 14 years, is open the third Monday of every month from 3:00 PM-5:30 PM. Due to COVID-19, the program has temporarily changed their operations and now supports guests using a drive-through model. Nancy, the church administrator for First Unitarian said,
“When we had to close our building because of COVID-19, we found a new way to keep the pantry going. We created volunteer shifts and pre-box the food. Some volunteers assemble boxes, some pack the food, and others put the boxes into our guest’s cars.”
Nancy spoke of how the team has continued to pivot their operations:
“We have a very loyal and dedicated group of volunteers. It just amazes me how the staff and volunteers can figure out how to expand their reach and do things completely differently and still keep up with the demand. Last month, we gave out 150 boxes of food.”
Please visit their website to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/First-Unitarian-Church-of-Providence-285189762181/
(Photo taken prior to COVID, courtesy of First Unitarian Staff.)
The Blackstone Valley Emergency Food Center is located at 75 Benefit Street in Pawtucket. The food center is open the 2nd, 3rd and 4th week of the month on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The center is staffed entirely by volunteers and the organization’s mission is to provide food assistance to people in the Blackstone Valley area; including Pawtucket, Central Falls, Cumberland and Lincoln. The center typically provides a 10-day supply of food to community members once a month. This includes meats, produce, bread products and non-perishable items. Spanish, Portuguese and Cape Verdean interpreters help community members with translation as needed. Dawn, a guest of the center, shared,
“I went there for the first time today, and was greeted with smiles. The staff is so caring, friendly and respectful. They even helped me put my bags onto my rolling walker and held the door open when I left. This is a good place to get what you need in a pinch, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.”
(Photo courtesy of BVEF Center staff.)
Please visit their website to learn more: https://blackstone-valley-emergency-food-center.business.site
The Washington Park Community Center Pantry is located at 42 Jillson Street in Providence. Their food pantry is open on Monday, Tuesday, and Fridays, 10:00 to 1:00 PM. The pantry adapted to a new, temporary model to distribute food throughout the pandemic. Fran Murphy, Center Director for 41 years, shares:
“Because we are a licensed daycare, we have had to limit people in the building. We never closed the pantry, but we’ve had to adapt. We have our guests ring the bell and then we pass them bagged groceries. At the beginning, we were doing food assistance five days a week because the need was so great. Now our daycare is open again, and we’re back to three days of pantry.”
The center offers more than just food assistance for guests: rent and utility assistance play a vital role in supporting the community, especially as the winter months increase heating costs.With over four decades of work at Washington Park, Fran shares why the work is so meaningful to her:
“Everyday is a different story, and there are no two days that are alike. When you do emergency food support, you find out a lot about the other needs the guests have. We connect and talk and try to meet all their needs.”
(Photo courtesy of Washington Park staff.)Please visit their website to learn more: https://washparkcc.org
Tri-County Community Action Agency of North Providence is located at 11 Emanuel Street in North Providence. They are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment. Bill Beatini, Food Distribution Coordinator, shared about the agency’sresponse to COVID-19,
“We don’t have anyone come into the facility – we pre-package everything. Guests call when they arrive and we come to the back door to hand them the groceries. That’s the biggest difference. Since the pandemic, we’ve had a lot of people who have never been here before – people who are out of
Bill shared more about the many services that Tri-County offers guests,
“We offer a lot to guests. We are here every day and hours we are open are convenient for people. We do a lot of referrals to support services. Besides food, we offer emergency services like heating assistance, youth services, free income tax preparation, and medical support. People always have different needs, and we try to support them.”
(Photo courtesy of Tri-County CAP’s staff, taken prior to COVID.)
John Hope Settlement House Food Pantry is located at 7 Thomas P. Whitten Way, in Providence. The pantry recently re-opened and is open for guests every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. John Hope Settlement House is named in honor of the late John Hope. Hope was an alumnus of Brown University and the first African American President of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. He was among the founders of the NAACP. The John Hope Settlement House has been a Food Bank member for years but temporarily closed their pantry last year to restructure. We are excited that their pantry is reopening for 2021 under the leadership of Brandford Davis, Executive Director. Davis said,
“We’ve spent time working to ensure that our facility is equipped to run the pantry and that our volunteers are ready, so that our pantry is able to support our community in the best possible way. My favorite part of being in this is role, is continuing the great work and the legacy of John Hope by serving the neighborhood and providing a better quality of life. No day is the same and this role gives me the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life and help to ensure that the community has access to childcare, food services, financial literacy classes, and everything that the center has to offer.”
Throughout the ensuing years the John Hope facility has grown to over 25,000 square feet of space. They house one of the largest child care centers in Rhode Island, and are home to an NCAA regulation gymnasium, a computer lab, educational classrooms, a teaching kitchen and a food pantry. Over ten thousand people utilize their facilities or social services each year.
(Photo courtesy of John Hope staff.)
Learn more here: https://www.johnhope.org
West Warwick Assistance Agency (WWAA) is located at 1293 Main Street in West Warwick. They are open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ray, President of the WWAA, shared about how they’re serving guests during this time,
“We offer groceries, and we’re still offering the grocery experience of shopper’s choice, we’re just allowing fewer people in. We work hard to have a good selection and to foster choice, and we work to tailor the amount of food to the family size. We’ve see an increase in the number of families with the reduction of federal pandemic benefits, and more and more people are coming because they are out of work.”
Ray volunteers his time to run the pantry, and values seeing the impact of the pantry on the area,
“I feel good working here and helping the community.”
Learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/930928340710565
St. Agatha Church Food Pantry is located at 34 Joffre Avenue in Woonsocket. They are open the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month from 10:00 – 11:30 am. This pantry is still offering a full shopper’s choice model, but they have taken steps to ensure health safety, including designated entries and exits, allowing only 5 shoppers at a time, and pre-bagging fresh vegetables. Ann Potemri, director of the pantry for 28 years, shared that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed procedures and has brought an increased need, but it has not dampened the community spirit of the pantry. Ann said,
“There is a change in the people we’re seeing. Most of elderly clients are staying home and receiving food in the high rises where they live, and we are now seeing more families. Our volunteers are very committed and have kept coming. We take extra care to keep them safe and we sanitize between every distribution for them and for the guests. We try to be welcoming and dedicated, we see this pantry as like our family.”
The Edgewood Pawtuxet Ecumenical Food Closet is located in the Church of the Transfiguration at 1665 Broad St., in Cranston. The pantry serves the Edgewood-Pawtuxet 02905 zip code area and is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 – 10:45 a.m. and Wednesdays from 5:00 – 6:15 p.m. Because of Covid-19, their food distribution has totally changed and they are temporarily bagging food to distribute. The pantry normally offers a full shopper’s choice model, but that is challenging to do right now. Carol, Coordinator of the thrift store shared some of the temporary changes they’ve made owing to the pandemic:
“Our thrift store had to close because of COVID, so we’re donating all of the books in here to the ACI so that local prisoners will get new books. The food distribution has changed totally, and we’re temporarily bagging all of our food up.”
She also shared about the community coming together:
“This whole summer into fall, people with gardens locally have been bringing in fresh produce, and the community gardens here have been doing the same thing.”
Mary Beth, pantry director, said,
“There are some people who are coming in and sharing their mental health issues, people are struggling, so we always make sure to match them with services. We make sure to check in with everyone when they come in to know how they are.”
Learn more here: https://www.churchofthetransfigurationri.org/food-assistance
The New Beginnings Meal Site is located at 323 Rathbun Street in Woonsocket. They are open for lunch Monday-Thursday from 12 – 1 PM. They have adapted a Grab andGo meal distribution to keep people safe during Covid-19. Executive Chef, Jeanne Michon, prepares the meals. Jeanne is a graduate of Johnson and Wales and enjoys making restaurant-quality meals for the guests. The pandemic has hit Woonsocket hard, and like other areas of the state, they are seeing a rising demand. Jeanne says,”There are a lot of new folks coming in. People are losing their jobs, or falling between the cracks of benefits.”Raymond, a meal site guest shared,
“I had a friend tell me that I should come here. I don’t always have lunch, so this is very helpful. This is my first time, and I’ll be back; everyone here is so thoughtful.”
Visit their site to learn more: https://www.newbeginningskitchen.com
Comprehensive Community Action Program, Inc. (CCAP) Food Pantry is located at 311 Doric Ave in Cranston. The food pantry is open Monday, Tuesday & Friday 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. & 2 – 4 p.m., Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. & 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. CCAP offers a wide range of services to their community from food and heating assistance, to mental health and housing support services. Oscar, the Food Bank Coordinator shares:
“We have many services here, from rent assistance, to childcare help. We pride ourselves on being a place that people can come for all of their needs. It means a lot to have families coming here and know that they can get what they need and feel comfortable with us.”
The pantry is currently operating an outdoor food distribution, using tents and heaters to serve guests comfortably and safely through the winter months. Food is generated from the pantry indoors, where it is then bagged and provided to guests through a dedicated access point. CCAP also has a large onsite outdoor garden and greenhouse that provides fresh food for the pantry.Visit their site to learn more: https://www.comcap.org/services/food-housing/#food-bank
The Blackstone Valley Community Action Program (BVCAP) is located at 32 Goff Avenue in Pawtucket. BVCAP is a multi-service program for the Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, and Cumberland communities. The pantry is open weekdays from 9:00 am – 12:30 pm by appointment. In response to COVID-19, BVCAP offers a home delivery program. Laura Jean, Assistant Coordinator of Youth and Family Services shared,
“We’re making bags for people who are home-bound, disabled, or elderly in the Pawtucket and Central Falls communities. We have a direct connection with the COVID-19 Hotline in Central Falls and we offer help for those who can’t get out to get food. This service has been a great help to the community.”
William, Food Delivery Manager, said,
“Our delivery days are Tuesday and Thursdays.” Those who receive deliveries, especially seniors, are “…very grateful for it; we’ve had people with tears in their eyes. For the elderly, sometimes I’m the only person they see all day.”
Visit their website to learn more: http://bvcap.org/
The Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry is located at 10 Nate Whipple Highway in Cumberland. The pantry is 100% volunteer run and is currently open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month. They serve northern RI communities, including Central Falls and the greater Woonsocket areas. Jeff Whitfield, Co-Executive Director shared,
“Last month we supported close to 1400 people, and our numbers have increased since COVID-19 began. We do emergency shut-in runs, as needed, to support people who can’t come in. We’ve had to change our distribution to outside. We have a system for packing bags and bringing them to the cars. We’ve served 350 new families this year, with our biggest months coming up as people face more food insecurity around the holidays. We’ve been so amazed by how the community has come together, including businesses, churches and schools. They have been so willing to support us, even during these difficult times with everyone’s resources strained. Our volunteers all have such great attitudes and it’s a special place for all of us.”
Visit their site to learn more: http://nrifoodpantry.org
The St. Edwards Food & Wellness Center is located at 1001 Branch Avenue in Providence. The pantry hours are Wednesdays, 10 to Noon and 5-6 PM. Founded in 2003, the Center offers health services, a thrift store and a food pantry. They have temporarily adjusted these services, moving the pantry outdoors, and
allowing guests to take workwear and coats free of charge to meet their needs. Lori Porcaro, the program director shares:
“We’ve adapted to be completely outside, and we plan on staying that way through the colder months. All of our volunteers have a role, and we have staff who work to make our community feel comfortable, especially our two priests who are bilingual and can support all of our guests.”
Volunteers staff stations around the church yard. Father Ed said,
“We’ve got some really dedicated volunteers, and that makes a big difference. They touch a lot of people’s lives.”
Visit their site to learn more: https://www.saintanthonychurch.org/food-wellness-center-1
Amos House is a social service agency and meal site located at 460 Pine Street in Providence. The meal site is open M-F 7am-8am, 11am-12:30pm, and Saturday 11am- 12:30pm. Amos House offers a meal site, social services, job training and more. Their meal site provided 147,000 meals this last fiscal year, which totals about 10,000 to 12,000 meals each month! Meals are created using food from Rhode Island Community Food Bank, community partners and their own garden. Executive Chef Michael McCarthy shares,
“It’s uniquely creative to cook here because we have many community partners including the Food Bank. We are able to make lots of different recipes. We serve breakfast and lunch Mondays – Fridays and lunch on Saturdays. We have a great team here and COVID-19 has completely changed how we operate. We serve To-Go meals instead of using our dining room. Every meal includes a salad, a protein a starch. Our salad greens come from Gotham Greens in Providence. This past year they gave us 14,000 heads of lettuce.”
“The relationships are my favorite part of this work. The ability to be allowed to serve folks who are homeless, who are food insecure or who have money for everything but food. The four of us in this kitchen are each uniquely creative and it truly is amazing team.”
The Louis & Goldie Chester Full Plate Kosher Food Pantry is located at 1165 North Main Street in Providence, in the Jewish Collaborative Services of RI building. The pantry is open Tuesday and Friday from 9-1 PM. The pantry caters to Kosher and Halal diets and is open to all residents of the state who require those diets. Marcie Ingber, Food Pantry Coordinator shares,
“We serve about 150, and a good 75% are seniors. Due to Covid-19, everything is now pre-bagged, and everyone has an appointment time to pick up groceries. We serve 30% more customers now than before Covid-19.”
The pantry also does food deliveries to about 40 families who are homebound. Marcie said,
“I learn about people’s lives, how their kids are, how they are feeling. I try to remember a lot of that information so that the pantry is a personal experience.”
The Saint Mary of the Bay Roman Catholic Church Food Pantry is located at 645 Main Street in Warren, RI. The pantry is open Tuesdays from 3 pm to 5 pm and Wednesdays from 9 am to 11 am. The pantry serves East Bay area residents, at an average of 200 households per month. The pantry has adapted to allow guests to place orders with grocery lists, and volunteers shop for them. They are preparing holiday offerings and moving to an indoor model with fall’s arrival. Wendy, pantry coordinator, shares
“When COVID first hit, a lot of people sheltered in place, so now because of the cold weather, more people are starting to come again. We are starting to offer Thanksgiving bags with holiday food. This year we’re adding recipes for food that we’re providing.”
Father Joseph said,
“I know we’re making a very real and practical difference in a lot of people lives, and being the only food pantry in Warren, we are able to be a real beacon for the community.”
Visit their site to learn more: https://www.stmaryofthebay.org/Food-Pantry
The Little Compton Food Pantry is located at 115 East Main Road in Little Compton and serves Little Compton and Tiverton residents. Pantry hours are Saturday 9-11 AM. The pantry is located inside of the Little Compton Wellness Center, and they recently moved into a bigger space within the center. On serving the senior population in the area, Susan Chase, pantry coordinator, shared:
“We have a lot of seniors who shop here, and it’s a very friendly place for them.”
For more information about this program, visit: https://www.lcwellness.org/community/resources
The Jonnycake Center of Westerly is located at 23 Industrial Drive in Westerly, The pantry is open Mondays 12pm – 3pm, Tuesdays 9am – 12pm, Wednesdays 9am – 12pm, Thursdays 9am – 12pm and Fridays 9am – 12pm. Jonnycake serves the towns of Westerly, Charlestown, Hopkinton, and Richmond. The center includes a thoughtfully curated thrift store, which helps to fund Jonnycake’s work. During the summer season, the Jonnycake Center of Westerly
operates a free community farmer’s market. The farmer’s market was reconfigured in its 2020 season to operate as a “drive-through,” allowing visitors to remain in their cars while being handed pre-sorted fresh produce by Jonnycake staff. Sarah Shaw, Pantry Manager, shared during a recent farmer’s market,
“I love these markets – seeing people, getting to be with them, sharing recipes and just connecting. I hope to remove the stigma from the process of coming here to the pantry. I think a lot about one family that has two little girls. I want them to look back and remember that place where we got beautiful flowers, and people were kind to us and we had fun getting our food. That’s what matters.”
Visit their website here: https://jonnycake.org/
The Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need is located at 805 Alton Carolina Road in Charlestown. The pantry is open Wednest 9:30 AM—11:30 AM and 6:30 PM—7:30 PM, Thursday 9:30 AM—11:30 AM, and Friday from 2:00 PM—3:00 PM.
Established in 2001, RICan primarily serves Washington County. In order to continue serving the community through the pandemic, they adopted a drive through pantry
model to ensure that guests stay safe for now. RICan assigns each of their volunteers a specific role like packing food, delivering it to guest vehicles or unpacking produce. Pantry Director, Scott Straight, shares
“Many people seeking food assistance are first timers. We try to get to know them and support them with more than just food.”
RICan also offers a thrift store that helps to support its hunger relief and emergency support services. To find out more about RICan, visit their website: https://rhodeislandcan.org
SVDP Rhode Island Food Pantry at Saint Philip Churchis located at 622 Putnam Pike in Smithfield. The pantry is open Wednesday afternoon from 1:00-3:00 PM and every Saturday from 9:00-10:30 AM, serving Smithfield and nearby Johnston, Harmony, North Providence and North Scituate residents. This pantry had taken a unique approach to adapt their food distribution to an open-air model, where guests are given a clipboard as they drive up, and volunteers shop for them. The pantry, open from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, served 665 people last month. Pantry Coordinator, Jim Carroll shared:
“We help people in need of food but we want them to know that we care about them and we’re here for them in other ways.”
Jim and 10 other volunteers serve pantry guests as part of their commitment to their local community. Visit their website here:
The Lighthouse Community Food Pantry is located at 30 Meeting Street in Cumberland. The pantry serves the Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield and Manville areas. This pantry was one of the first of our member agencies to adapt their food distribution to a drive-through model to serve guests during the COVID crisis, ensuring that guest can continue to access food safely. They are open Mondays from 3:00-6:30 PM and their current team of 14 volunteers has been instrumental in ensuring that food gets distributed safely, shared Pantry
Director, Pastor John Feragne. These photos reflect the hard work and dedication of the Lighthouse team in keeping their community fed.”
Visit their website here: https://www.lccri.org/projects
The Food Pantry at Progreso Latino is located at 20 Claremont Street in Central Falls, in the Knights of Columbus Building. The pantry is open Mondays and Wednesdays, 10-1 PM. Wednesdays at the Progreso Latino food pantry are a hub of activity. Half hour before the doors open, the parking lot comes alive with people walking, parking and getting in line to receive food assistance. Guests range in ages from small children to seniors who are served first, to limit their exposure to large crowds and COVID-19. One senior, Humberto, who receives food at the pantry, shared his experience and how things have changed for him during the pandemic:
“There is a senior program here [at Progresso Latino] and they had to close that down. I have a daughter, but she hasn’t been able to visit me. We’ve only seen each other from a distance. Thanks to god I’m still doing good. I’m healthy, I’m doing my exercises and that’s how I can stay well right now. I’m very, very grateful. I don’t cook and here there is also lunch with the senior program that they now deliver to me. It’s a full cooked lunch. I come here two times a week, and I have a car here, but sometimes they come to my house, which is very nice.”
Humberto spoke very openly with the staff at the pantry and it was clear that they built a close relationship over time:
“I get everything they give out here, all the food. And even when I can’t come, Helen [a staff member] is able to bring it to my house and it’s a big help for me. I live here in Central Falls. I’m always very grateful because it’s really good food. Just being closed off has been the hardest part.”
The RI Community Food Bank has been delivering much larger donations that usual to this location, as the volume of guests has greatly changed. Progreso staff member, Jack, shared:
“We used to see 15 families [come to our food pantry], now we are reaching up to 300.”
To support this increase in need, Progreso Latino is all hands on deck, with staff from many of their other social service programs lending a hand at the pantry. Some Central Falls city employees have even been moved by the city to support the food pantry at Progreso Latino. One member of that team, Catherine, a CF Parks and Rec Coordinator shared,
“We’ve been willing to adapt to whatever conditions we have and to serving the community the best we can and making sure their basic need are met.”
About 2/3 of the staff helping guests line up, unloading boxes and handing off food were members of this city team.At one recent pantry distribution, guests received boxes of fresh, local produce and staples like pasta, beans and rice. Additionally, there was on site testing for COVID-19, sponsored by a local pediatric practice.Dominga, the food pantry coordinator, said that it is critical that all people know they are welcome at the pantry, especially for something as important on testing.
“Sometimes they are reflecting about getting tests done because of their immigration status. It’s their choice whether they want to get tested or not, but we make it easy for them to feel comfortable.”
Learn more here: https://progresolatino.org/food-pantry
Project Outreach is located at the Open Table of Christ at 1520 Broad Street in Providence. They are open Wednesday from 8-11 AM for 02905 residents and Thursday 8AM – 11AM for 02907 residents. On a chilly and bright morning in May, a few volunteers gather in a corner of the city of Providence, tucked into a church basement. Sorting cans of beans, potatoes and meal boxes, the volunteers work quickly and determinedly, music in the background. The determination is a constant, but their work has changed. This is the time of COVID-19 and the need for food assistance has increased drastically around the state. Volunteers and staff wear masks, wash their hands often and guests of the pantry now receive their meals at a pick-up site. Steve, a volunteer for three years at the site, shares:
“I live right around the corner. I like being here and helping people I know.”
It’s that community spirit that has driven Project Outreach in serving the Washington Park community for 35 years. Learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectOutreachRI/
The Community Action Partnership of Providence County is located at 807 Broad Street in Providence. The pantry is open Wednesdays from 10:00 am-2:00 pm and currently serves roughly 350 families from the 02907 zip code area of Providence.
Earlier this year, CAPP moved to a new location, and their team has taken an all hands-on deck approach, with all staff working to support the food pantry. To support guests during the pandemic, they have adapted their pantry model to support social distancing and safe food pickup.Maria Elena, a guest at the CAPP food pantry stopped for a photo and to share her experience receiving food there.
“It’s difficult to get food because I don’t want to be close to people. Income is hard right now, because I lost my job because of COVID. I like coming here and I feel safe here because everyone wears masks, and stays six feet apart. The food is all good, and nowhere near its expiration date. It’s all healthy food, which is good for my family.”
Learn more here: https://www.cappri.org/programs/food-pantry
This week we are spotlighting Good Neighbors located at 55 Turner Avenue in East Providence. The food pantry is available to residents of East Providence on Wednesdays 9am-12pm & Saturdays 10am-12pm. Good Neighbors is a non-profit service organization which normally operates a soup kitchen, food pantry, and day shelter for people experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity. Due to the pandemic, they have adjusted their operations to provide two weekly, distanced, drive or walk-up food distributions. Celebrating their 30th year, this pantry uses a team of dedicated staff and volunteers who even work to maintain an on-site vegetable and flower garden.
Learn more here: http://www.goodneighborsri.org/index.html
St. Raymond’s St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is located at 1240 North Main Street in Providence. The pantry is open Saturday mornings from 9-11 AM. Located in the parish hall of Saint Raymond’s church, the pantry closed for two weeks at the start of the pandemic to ensure they could meet the community demand and to create new systems to ensure client and volunteer safety. They now run the pantry outdoors, to encourage social distancing. They have also partnered with the state SVDP office to provide food for the elderly and ill who are in isolation. The Saint Raymond’s team collects the food and packs the bags, and the SVDP state office delivers them. Jeb, a volunteer at the pantry for 20 years, shared:
“It feels good to support the community, and I love being with the people who come each week. Everyone is so grateful and we really have the most wonderful people who come here.”
Learn more here: http://www.straymonds.com
The North Kingstown Food Pantry is located at 445 School Street in North Kingstown. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10-2 PM, Thursdays from 10-4 and the 4th Saturday of the Month from 10:00 AM to Noon. Located in a former school house that is over 100 years old, NKFP has been working hard to build community partnerships and continue services during the pandemic. This pantry serves an average of 250 households a month. NKFP has created a robust produce program, utilizing local farm donations and the RI Community Food Bank to source produce, as well as a localoutdoor classroom garden. NKFP Operations Manager, Stephen, shared:
“The guests are so appreciative that we are able to stay open and that we are able to bring it out their cars. We are offering the same amount of products and it’s completely safe, so they feel very comfortable coming.”
Learn more here: http://www.nkfoodpantry.org