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Thursday, June 11, 2020

RI Community Bank fights hunger during this crisis

COVID-19 Update

Reminder: Live Video Town Hall Tomorrow 

This Friday at 9 am, join us for a Live Video Town Hall where you can learn more about the work of the Food Bank during the COVID-19 public health emergency. CEO Andrew Schiff will be joined by Heather Hole Strout, Executive Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in Newport, to talk about the ways we’re responding to the increased demand for food.
Advanced registration is required. Click here to sign up. 

Meeting the Need in Central Falls 

Wednesdays at the Progreso Latino food pantry are a hub of activity. That’s when their weekly food distribution serves hundreds of people from the city of Central Falls, an area hard hit by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

A half hour before the doors open, the parking lot comes alive with people walking, parking and getting in line to receive food assistance. Guests range in ages from small children to seniors - who are served first to limit their exposure to large crowds and COVID-19.

One senior, Humberto, who receives food at the pantry, shared his experience and how things have changed for him during the pandemic. He spoke very openly with the staff at the pantry and it was clear that they built a close relationship over time.

“I get everything they give out here, all the food. And even when I can’t come, Helen [a staff member] is able to bring it to my house and it’s a big help for me. I live here in Central Falls. I’m always very grateful because it’s really good food. Just being closed off has been the hardest part. I’m very, very grateful.”

Distributing Food and Much More 

The RI Community Food Bank has been delivering much larger donations than usual to this location, as the volume of guests has greatly changed. Progreso staff member, Jack, shared: “We used to see 15 families [come to our food pantry], now we are reaching up to 300.”

On this day, guests received boxes of fresh, local produce packaged by Farm Fresh RI as part of the USDA Farmers to Families program, which is meant to help farmers and distribute fresh food to families in need during the pandemic. Guests also received staples like pasta, beans and rice.

Additionally, there was onsite testing for COVID-19, sponsored by a local pediatric practice.

Dominga, the food pantry coordinator, pictured right, said that it is critical that all people know they are welcome at the pantry, especially for something as important as testing.

“Sometimes they are concerned about getting tests done because of their immigration status. It's their choice whether they want to get tested or not, but we make it easy for them to feel comfortable.”

Our mailing address is:
Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Ave
Providence, RI 02907-3150