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Feeding those who need help during difficult times
By Connie Grosch / September 29, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

“If anyone doubts that there are households struggling in South County, they should come and visit us,” said Kate Brewster, Executive Director of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale. “We absolutely have pockets of poverty."

For more than four decades, the Jonnycake Center has helped feed those in South County who need help during difficult times.

In 2016, they distributed more than 215,000 pounds of food that provided 171,000 meals. This included 15,000 school vacation meals and 8,100 meals delivered to home-bound seniors through monthly food baskets.

And they are seeing the demand continue to rise. “The numbers here have skyrocketed,” said Brewster. More than 1,800 people registered with the food pantry last year, and it serves an average of 630 client visits each month.

 

Brewster, who holds a master’s degree in social work and previously worked in research and policy advocacy on poverty issues, is focused on providing Jonnycake's clients with more fresh foods and proteins.

They are now purchasing chicken, pork chops, hamburgers from a local wholesaler. The University of Rhode Island Master Gardener program and local farmers are providing fresh produce, Rhody Fresh milk and eggs, strawberries and grapes. 

Brewster wants to further expand their role to that of a resource hub in the community – connecting pantry visitors to public supports and child care assistance, financial aid, job training and other services that can help them cross the bridge to economic security.

“The staff and volunteers understand that this could happen to anyone,” she said.

 

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