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Monday, March 23, 2020

Food Bank helping to keep food on the table

COVID-19 and Food Bank Operations
As COVID-19 continues to impact our community through the closing of businesses and schools, households at risk of hunger become increasingly more vulnerable. We are working hard to meet the increased demand for food assistance in our community.

Before this public health emergency began, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank was distributing food to 53,000 adults, seniors, and children through our partner agency network and direct distribution programs. As more people come to us for assistance – many of them for the first time – we expect to see that number grow and we are committed to serving all of our neighbors in need.

We Are Feeding Our Kids
This week, we have focused on packing more than 7,000 Meals4Kids boxes and distributing them through our network. These boxes contain a week’s worth of healthy meals and snacks for a child, along with information on other resources in the community. We are thankful to Stop & Shop’s Our Family Foundation for funding this program.

With school closures, children are missing out on the daily breakfasts, lunches and meals they receive through school and afterschool programs. We have been sharing information provided by school districts on their free “Grab & Go” packs that ensure children and their families have access to three meals a day.

We Are Feeding Our Seniors
The Food Bank provides boxes of nutritious food to 1,660 seniors every month at food pantries and senior housing sites throughout Rhode Island. The majority of these distributions are continuing as scheduled.

We Are Maintaining Our Operations
Driver Joe Reynolds delivering Meals4Kids boxes. Our fleet of trucks is on the road daily as Food Bank drivers have increased the amount of food and frequency of deliveries to our member agencies. Our staff are also responding to emergency needs and shortages as they arise.

At the Food Bank, we are operating with some modifications to our daily routines. We have currently canceled all volunteer shifts through April 13. Also, many staff who can't do their regular jobs in the community are now filling in for volunteers sorting food and packing boxes to ensure that food distribution continues uninterrupted.

Our network of 168 partner agencies throughout the state remains strong. Although several have suspended  food distributions, we are able to refer guests to alternative locations nearby. We are encouraging all agencies to remain open and follow all Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines, including those for social distancing. The flow of food to agencies is continuing with little disruption, and agencies are serving families and individuals seeking food assistance.

The Food Bank is focused on meeting the needs of the community while also ensuring the health of our employees, volunteers and other stakeholders. Thank you for your continued commitment to our work.
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Our mailing address is:
Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Ave
Providence, RI 02907-3150