PROVIDENCE – Over the past few years, hunger in the Ocean State has grown to its highest level on record. Rhode Island has the highest rate of food insecurity among New England states according to the USDA. And, each month, more than 66,000 Rhode Islanders turn to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s network of emergency food programs to help put food on the table for their families.
To help those in need, Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) announced today that it will host a 7-week food drive in each of its 18 branches across the state, including those in East Providence on Taunton Avenue and South Broadway, to benefit local food pantries. The drive begins on Aug. 1 and runs through Sept. 20 – helping pantries fill a vital gap during the late summer when the need further increases. The local beneficiary is the East Bay Community Action Program.
“Holding our food drive towards the end of the summer when children no longer have access to summer meal programs and are still a few weeks from receiving meals at school will help a lot of families,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, President and CEO of BankRI. “Our customers and staff are known for giving back, and I know they will respond generously to this effort to help pantries replenish their shelves.”
For the drive, every BankRI branch has partnered with a food pantry that serves its community, ensuring that all of the food collected will remain local to feed area residents. Each food pantry is a member of the Food Bank’s network of emergency food programs.
All BankRI locations will have prominently placed food collection bins in their lobbies. Members of the community are encouraged to donate items most-needed by partnering food pantries, including: canned fruits and vegetables, canned soups and stews, pasta, breakfast cereals, brown rice, and proteins such as peanut butter, tuna, and canned and dried beans.
“We applaud BankRI for helping local food pantries to provide healthy food to families in need,” says Andrew Schiff, Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. “Community-based solutions to the challenge of hunger enable neighbors to help each other through hard times. Right now, more than 66,000 people rely on our network of agencies for food assistance. One in three served is a child under the age of 18.”