Food pantry celebrates 5 years feeding Bristol

Volunteer Megan Devries carries food bags for needy families at the East Bay Food Pantry in Bristol, in this eastbayri.com file photo. Volunteer Megan Devries carries food bags for needy families at the East Bay Food Pantry in Bristol, in this eastbayri.com file photo.

It’s been five years since the East Bay Food Pantry began its mission of “engaging, educating and empowering the East Bay in creating a hunger-free community.”

In that time, more than 1,000 individuals a month, and more than 5,000 different people a year, have been able to find the nutritious food they need to survive, thanks in part to the pantry, which is celebrating its anniversary this month.

“We’re celebrating the organization and also the people who have been here with us the while time,” pantry Director Anita Randall said. “Five years. We think it’s a pretty big deal. We’re excited.”

The pantry will celebrate the milestone with a party at the Franklin Street location on Wednesday, Aug. 27. Festivities will begin at noon with cake for clients, staff and volunteers and a special citation presentation by State Sen. Ottiano to the agency and the volunteers. There will also be special sales in the EBFP Thrift shop and the community is encouraged to come and shop for a cause.

The anniversary theme will continue a couple weeks later at one of the organization’s biggest fundraisers — Uncorked! 2014 at Mount Hope Farm. The event is planned for at Mount Hope Farm’s Cove Cabin on Friday, Sept. 12. It includes a menu of fresh Rhode Island food by Russell Morin Catering, live music entertainment by Jazz Candy and Vixen and Tod, plus a silent and live auction. For more information, or for tickets, visit eastbayfoodpantry.org, email info@eastbayfoodpantry.org, or call 401-396-9490.

East Bay Food Pantry provides, of course, all the staple groceries those in need must have, but also has other services as well, including “Access Nutrition” classes, taste tests, a thrift shop and Fresh Food Fridays, for which local farms deliver fresh produce every week.

“We plan to continue to build on meeting clients’ needs and making sure people can get healthy, nutritious food when they need it,” Ms. Randall said. “There are no plans for major changes, but we’re always looking for feedback from our clients on how we can better serve the.”

There’s a chance the pantry will have a few more clients coming its way. Bristol Good Neighbors soup kitchen and food pantry announced this week it will be moving out of Bristol to the former St. Brendan’s School in Riverside. While it’s unclear what impact that may have on the East Bay Food Pantry, Ms. Randall said they’ll be ready.

“I would imagine most people utilizing the services in Bristol know about both,” Ms. Randall said. “But we are open and ready to serve if more people come our way.”

The food pantry is open Wednesdays, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. The thrift shop is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Visit eastbayfoodpantry.org for more information or to make a donation.

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