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St. John’s Lodge now managing Portsmouth food bank

Pantry moved there from St. Barnabas Church in late July

Posted 10/20/20

PORTSMOUTH — St. John’s Lodge No. 1 of the Freemasons, located at 81 Sprague St., has taken over management responsibilities for the Portsmouth Community Emergency Food …

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Please support local news coverage –

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St. John’s Lodge now managing Portsmouth food bank

Pantry moved there from St. Barnabas Church in late July

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — St. John’s Lodge No. 1 of the Freemasons, located at 81 Sprague St., has taken over management responsibilities for the Portsmouth Community Emergency Food Bank. 

The food pantry, which was originally located at St. Barnabas Church, moved to the Sprague Street site on July 29 after an offer from St. John’s. Up until recently, however, it was still being officially managed by the town.

“We are very proud to have accepted the responsibility to manage the food bank operations for the town,” said Scott Jamieson of St. John’s Lodge. “We have seen an increased need to assist those who have been hit hard as this pandemic continues. We are humbled by the many people who have continued to donate food and funds to allow us to continue to help those in need. We also have been blessed with a wonderful group of volunteers who are working tirelessly to stock the shelves, fill bags and hand them out as the cars come rolling in.” 

Town Administrator Richard Rainer, Jr. said the town is fortunate to have a group such as St. John’s Lodge in the community.  

“It is organizations like St. John’s who are working hard to mitigate the exceptional hardships faced by many in the area during this pandemic,” he said. “St. John’s exceptional leadership and teamwork made the transition from the facility at St. Barnabas Parish exceptionally smooth. We are proud to have them as our partners.” 

How it works

The Portsmouth Community Emergency Food Bank is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays, for food distribution and to accept donations.

To get food: Enter the marked food lane and a volunteer will come out to your car to assist you; do not park or get out of your vehicle. The food bank is able to provide food for only one family per vehicle without prior arrangements. Although you may be asked for some type of identification, the food bank is available everyone and is not restricted to Portsmouth residents.

To donate food: Non-perishable, non-expired food items can be dropped off any time at the hours listed above. Bring your donation to the food lane and a volunteer will come out to your car to receive it.

Items needed include cereal, pancake mix, syrup, mac and cheese, peanut butter, jelly, powdered milk, baked beans, canned fruit, pasta sauce, canned pasta, canned vegetables, canned tuna or chicken, crackers, Minute Rice packages, canned soups, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or similar products.

The food bank has limited storage for fresh produce and other refrigerated items; call if you have any of these type items to donate.

To make a monetary donation: Write a check payable to the “St. John’s Lodge,” and note “Food Bank” on the check. Either hand-deliver to the food bank or mail to St. John’s Lodge #1, P.O. Box 587, Portsmouth, RI 02871. Cash donations should be hand-delivered.

Gift cards to area markets are also accepted and are used primarily to purchase needed items for the supply.

Call Scott Jamieson at 401/835-3819, or e-mail stjohns1foodbank@gmail.com if you need information. 

St. John's Lodge No. 1 has been active on Aquidneck Island for over two and a half centuries. The lodge was chartered in 1749 and is under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. For more information, visit www.stjohnslodgeno1.org or call 401-683-0231.

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