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Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank moving to Masonic Lodge

Current operation at St. Barnabas will close July 24


PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank, established in late March to help local families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be on the move soon.

To allow St. Barnabas Church to return its facilities to normal use, the St. John’s Lodge No. 1 of the Freemasons has offered the town use of its building at 81 Sprague St. for the food bank.

The food bank at St. Barnabas will close at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 24, and re-open at the new site on Wednesday, July 29. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays for food distribution and to accept donations.

“We are very grateful to St. Barnabas for stepping up to serve our immediate need when the COVID-19 pandemic started to unfold,” said Portsmouth Town Administrator Richard Rainer Jr. “Their quick effort to ramp up operations and provide both leadership and volunteers prevented a lot of area people from going hungry. 

“We appreciate the St. Barnabas Parish for being such a great asset to the community. We are also grateful to the St. John’s Lodge for offering to take over food bank operations as the COVID-19 situation continues, as does the need to provide food to those in need.”

How it works

To contact the new food bank starting July 29, call 401/643-0323 or e-mail Leave a message if you have a question or a special request, need other assistance or if someone other than yourself needs to pick up food. The food bank will return your call within 24 hours. 

To get food: Enter the marked food lane at the food bank, and a volunteer will come out to assist you. Do not park or get out of your vehicle. The food bank can provide food for only one family per vehicle without prior arrangements. You may be asked for some type of identification, but the food bank is available to all in need and not restricted to Portsmouth residents.

To donate food: Non-perishable, non-expired food items can be dropped off anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Bring your donation to the lodge parking lot and a volunteer will meet your at your vehicle.

Among the items needed are: 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 items.

Gift cards to area markets are also accepted and used primarily to purchase needed items for the food bank supply. They will be selectively distributed and not included in food bank packages.

To make a monetary donation: Make checks payable to the Town of Portsmouth and note “Food Bank” on the check. You can either hand-deliver to the food bank or mail to Portsmouth Community Food Bank, Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871. 

St. John's Lodge No. 1 has been active on Aquidneck Island for over two and a half centuries. The lodge was chartered on Dec. 26, 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 about the lodge, visit or call 401/683-0231.

For more information about the Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank, visit, or contact Rich Talipsky at 401/643-0382 or 

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