Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Monday, May 4, 2020

Food Banks are jammed and REALLY need your help

COVID-19 Update -
Food Pantry Sees Soaring Demand

As we head into the third month responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, we wanted to share an update from the perspective of one of our member agencies working to deliver food assistance to neighbors in need.

Being Good Neighbors

You don’t know how much this means to me. All I have left to eat at home is walnuts. I don’t know what we would do without this help.”

Sandra, on the left with another guest, one of the few “walk ups” who traveled by bus from Woonsocket to get to the pantry. 

Good Neighbors, a Food Bank member agency in Riverside provides drive-through service to neighbors in need of food assistance on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Visitors drive their cars up in an orderly line and volunteers fill their trunks, hatchbacks or backseats with pre-packaged bags of food.

The bags contain both perishable and non-perishable items: eggs, lettuce from Gotham Greens, potatoes, meat, cereal, pasta. But there is a noticeable shortage of bread.

“The bread supply has all but dried up,” said Executive Director Ric Wild. “We used to get truckloads donated from local retailers, but it’s just not there anymore for them to give.”

Good Neighbors is seeing more guests than ever at their pantry. On an average Wednesday during the course of the year, they may have had as many as 46 visitors seeking food assistance. More recently, they’ve seen up to 113 in one day, nearly 2.5 times what they’re used to.

According to Wild, “Many of these folks are coming here for the first time. They’ve never needed help before. It’s new to them and they’re new to us so we try to make it as seamless as we can.”

As one guest explained from her car as it was being loaded up for her:

“This will help me until I can get back to work. It’ll last me a couple of weeks.”

Serving More of Our Neighbors
To meet the increased demand for assistance at our member agencies, we continue to distribute food at levels much higher than average, from 50,000 to as much as 100,000 pounds more per week than we're used to. Last week we distributed 337,045 pounds of food – normally we would be delivering 225,000-250,000 pounds.

Helping Children and Families
Since the crisis began, we’ve distributed 10,000 Meals4Kids boxes which contain a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches and snacks for kids. Contents include soup, crackers, pasta, juice, apple sauce, mac & cheese, fruit cups, oatmeal and milk.

We continue to work with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency to distribute individual pre-packaged Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs). To date, we’ve given out 119,000 MRE meal kits and the demand continues. FEMA is also providing us with thousands of family meal boxes which include 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches, instead of just one.

Making A Healthy Recipe with Your Kids
Our Healthy Habits nutrition education team has put together a special Carrot Energy Bites recipe to introduce your children to the ins and outs of the kitchen. It’s about much more than cooking. Visit our website to watch the video together and download the recipe.
Our mailing address is:
Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Ave
Providence, RI 02907-3150