With the issue of hunger in Rhode Island on the rise in recent months as a result of the end of pandemic-related emergency benefits and increased costs, BankRI has kicked off a month-long food drive at all 21 of its branches. The collection will continue through Friday, Aug. 18.
In Johnston, the bank’s local branch is collecting food to benefit the emergency food program at Tri-County Community Action Agency, which serves residents of Johnston, North Providence, and Smithfield.
In Cranston, BankRI’s four local branches, including the new full-service branch located at 1340 Oaklawn Avenue that celebrated its grand opening on July 19, are collecting food to help the food pantry at Comprehensive Community Action Program, while its three Warwick locations are helping to stock the shelves of Westbay Community Action.
According to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, the organization’s network of member food pantries served 80,000 people per month in March, April, and May, compared to 66,000 people in February – an increase of 21%.
“While we’ve moved further from the challenges of the past few years, many of our neighbors are still feeling the effects, especially families with children,” said Will Tsonos, President and CEO of BankRI. “When you combine the high price of food with the loss of the breakfast and lunch meals kids receive at school, you have the perfect storm for rising food insecurity. Every donation we receive will help.”
Throughout the BankRI food drive, all branches feature collection bins in their lobbies for donations of nonperishable food items. Among the foods needed most by pantries are soups and stews, pasta, nutritious breakfast cereal, peanut butter, canned fish and meat, tomato products, and canned fruits and vegetables. The Food Bank and its network also seek culturally relevant foods like jasmine, yellow, and basmati rice, dried black, kidney, and fava beans, and items such as sofrito, fish sauce, coconut milk, and adobo. Any donations of sauces or spices must be in plastic bottles or cans only – no glass.
All BankRI branches have partnered with a pantry that serves its community to ensure the food it collects stays local to feed area residents. In total, 14 pantries are benefiting from the Bank’s food drive, and all are members of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s network.
“We’re so grateful for BankRI’s partnership and support,” said Andrew Schiff, Food Bank CEO. “The need for food assistance today is greater than even during the height of the pandemic. Food drives like these are critical to our ability to put as much food as possible on the tables of those who need it.”
For a full list of BankRI branches, their address and phone number, please visit BankRI.com/locations.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here