Hunger Facts & Resources

The Latest Facts and Figures

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank distributes food to people in need through a statewide network of 159 member agencies including food pantries, meal sites, shelters, youth programs and senior centers.

Each month, 68,000 Rhode Islanders receive food assistance at these agencies. 66% of households served by food pantries include seniors and/or children.

The Food Bank solicits food donations from the public and from the food industry, including supermarkets, food manufacturers and growers. To keep up with the high demand for food assistance, the Food Bank also purchases food at a low cost from wholesalers. Last year, the Food Bank distributed 13.8 million pounds of food.

Food Bank Operations

  • 13.8 million pounds of food distributed last year (including 2.4 million pounds of fresh produce)
  • 68,000 people served each month in Rhode Island
  • Management and fundraising costs represent only 12% of expenses

Sources of Food

  • Food donated by food companies, supermarkets, farms and food drives: 31%
  • Food purchased by the Food Bank: 22%
  • USDA Commodities: 42%
  • Emergency Response: 5%

The Scope of the Problem

In every community in Rhode Island, there are individuals and families impacted by hunger. Far too many people still require assistance putting food on the table. And food insecurity greatly affects some of our most vulnerable citizens. The health of children and seniors suffers when they have limited access to adequate nutritious food.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12.4 percent of Rhode Islanders, over 54,200 households, are food insecure, meaning they are often unsure where their next meal will come from due to lack of resources. The most severe conditions associated with hunger are reported by 5.6 percent of our state’s residents, nearly 24,500 households.

Food Insecurity in the U.S.

  • 10.5% are food insecure (pre-COVID-19 data)

Food Insecurity in Rhode Island

  • 25.2% are food insecure (data gathered during COVID-19 pandemic)

How the Food Bank Helps

Equipped with a 77,000-square-foot facility, a fleet of trucks and a professional staff, the Food Bank safely and efficiently solicits, collects, stores and distributes large quantities of food from many sources. Every week, the Food Bank moves more than 225,000 pounds of food out its doors to agencies that directly serve Rhode Islanders in need.

To find the nearest member agency of the Food Bank, click here. For information on food assistance and a variety of other services available to Rhode Islanders in need, call the United Way Hotline at 2-1-1.

Who the Food Bank Serves*

  • 66% of households that visit food pantries include a child (0-17 yrs old) or senior (65+ yrs old)
  • 45% of respondents report being in poor or fair health (as opposed to good, very good, or excellent)
  • 69% of households with children have an employed adult yet 89% live below the poverty line
  • 75% of respondents are enrolled in SNAP (which the USDA plans to cut, leaving 11,000 Rhode Islanders without food assistance including 5,000 children)

*Data from the 2019 Hunger Survey, a collaborative effort between the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute at Brown University, identifying demographic details of households impacted by hunger in Rhode Island.

Our Commitment to Healthy Food

The Food Bank is committed to providing nutritious food. Currently, 88 percent of the food distributed is considered “core food”– healthy foods, including vegetables and fruits, bread, grains, protein, beans and dairy, which can be used to prepare a nutritious meal for a family. Of the 13.8 million pounds of food distributed by the Food Bank last year, over 2.4 million pounds was fresh produce.

How the Food Bank Operates

The Food Bank is a private, nonprofit organization located in Providence, RI. It is governed by a Board of Directors, elected annually by the Food Bank’s member agencies. The Food Bank is affiliated with Feeding America, the national food bank organization. The Food Bank is funded primarily by gifts from individuals, corporate donations, foundation grants and shared maintenance fees charged to member agencies.

Financial Accountability

To review our complete Financial Statement, click here.