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Grant to Food Bank will feed hungry RI'ers
By Chris Barnett / December 13, 2018 /   Loading Disqus...

Sparked by a recent report about rapidly rising food prices, the Rhode Island Foundation made a $100,000 donation to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and challenged Rhode Islanders to pitch in during this time of extraordinary need.

"Our goal is not just to address the alarming increase in hunger in our state, but to hopefully to provide leadership and to inspire Rhode Islanders to assist their favorite charities as well as to help people in need as we enter the winter months," said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The announcement comes as proposed cuts to federal safety net programs threaten to overwhelm the state’s food pantries, which are already near capacity. According to the Food Bank’s 2018 Report on Hunger, food prices have grown three times faster than wages since 2015.

“We are so thankful to the Rhode Island Foundation for once again stepping up to address food insecurity,” said Andrew Schiff, the Food Bank’s CEO.

The donation is among the largest the organization has received this year, according to Food Bank officials. The money will help the Food Bank acquire 300,000 pounds of food-- enough to provide 370,000 additional meals.

“With this gift, we’ll be able to deliver more food to our member agencies so that they can provide assistance to working families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Schiff.

The Food Bank will work with soup kitchens, senior centers and food pantries across Rhode Island to get the food into the hands of Rhode Islanders. The Segue Institute for Learning in Central Falls is among the agencies that will benefit from the Foundation’s grant.

“We all know that children cannot learn when they are hungry. The pantry at Segue is critical in helping students achieve academic success and we appreciate this support from the Foundation to provide additional food for the Food Bank and member agencies like ours.” said Angelo Garcia, founder and executive director of Segue, which has an in-school food pantry that serves the families of its students.

The grant will enable the Food Bank to purchase staples such as baked beans, rice, tomato soup, fresh produce and canned carrots, corn and peas for member agencies like the Federal Hill House, which operates food pantries in the Providence’s Federal Hill and Olneyville neighborhoods.

“Even though the economy is improving, we’re actually seeing an increase in the number of guests seeking food assistance at both of our pantries,” said Kimberly Fernandez, executive director. “These funds from the Foundation to the Food Bank will help our agency access more healthy, nutritious food to meet the need.”

The Food Bank distributes food to 53,000 struggling Rhode Islanders each month through a statewide network of 158 member agencies including food pantries, meal sites, shelters, youth programs and senior centers.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. Through leadership, fundraising and grant making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.

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