The food pantry at the MLK Center.

Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) is set to host its annual food drive in support of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and its network of emergency food programs. From July 12 to August 20, each of the Bank’s 20 branches statewide will collect nonperishable food items to benefit their local food pantry. During the 6-week effort, BankRI will also match all donations made to the Food Bank, up to a total of $10,000. The match includes gifts made online through the Food Bank’s secure website.

“One of the biggest challenges Rhode Islanders currently face is having enough food to feed their families – more than 60,000 of our neighbors turn to the Food Bank and to local pantries for help each month,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, President and CEO of BankRI in a statement. “Every donation to our drive will help put food on a family’s table at a time they need it most. We invite everyone to participate and to give what they can.”

For the drive, all BankRI branches will feature collection bins in their lobbies for donations of nonperishable food items. Each branch has partnered with a pantry that serves its community to ensure food collected at that branch stays local to feed area residents.

BankRI’s Middletown Branch has partnered with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Newport, one of the 15 community-based pantries that are a member of the Food Bank’s network.

These 15 community-based pantries also receive a $1,000 grant for additional food acquisition. In total, BankRI is committing $25,000 this summer to alleviate hunger across the state.

BankRI’s matching gift challenge on behalf of the Food Bank is aimed at helping the organization increase donations earmarked for purchasing additional food. Thanks to its ability to buy food in bulk, every dollar donated to the Food Bank helps to acquire three meals. After distributing a record 13.8 million pounds of food in 2020, the Food Bank is on pace to top 16 million pounds this year.

“BankRI’s support comes at a critical time for Rhode Islanders in need,” said Rhode Island Community Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff in a statement. “Even as our economy reopens, there are tens of thousands of our neighbors struggling with food insecurity. This contribution of food and funds will help ensure no one goes hungry.”

Foods most needed by pantries include peanut butter, nutritious breakfast cereals, canned fruits and vegetables, boxed macaroni and cheese, whole-wheat pasta, and tomato sauce.

To make a donation of nonperishable food at a BankRI branch, locations and their hours can be found at BankRI.com/locations.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.